Eggplant Frites with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis (Gluten-free, vegan, and non-fried options)
Back in Denver, one of the hubby’s and my favorite places was an Italian restaurant, called Panzano, where they made a lovely fried eggplant resting in marinara sauce that was to die for. So, this week, I’m bringing you my version of the dish – Eggplant Frites with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis.
Tangy Roasted Red Pepper Coulis is wonderful with the sweetness of the eggplant. Add in the crispy breadcrumbs, some balsamic vinegar glaze and fresh basil and you have heaven on earth. The dish reminds me of a deconstructed eggplant parm. YES, please.
I went with the Roasted Red Pepper Coulis over the marinara because I didn’t want to make the exact dish as the restaurant so I can still enjoy it there and feel like I’m getting a treat. The hubby is always complaining about how hard it is to eat out because I often make better quality and flavored food at home. So, keeping this one a treat. And it’s so freaking good with the coulis. But if you are running short on time, open a jar of marinara and enjoy.
Gluten-Free Eggplant Frites
It’s so freaking easy to make this dish gluten-free. Simply substitute the regular breadcrumbs for your favorite gluten-free breadcrumbs and BOOM, you’re there.
Another easy substitute to make the eggplant frites vegan. Simply use a half a cup of your favorite milk alternative in the place of the egg mixture. Dip the eggplant into the milk, then the breadcrumbs and fry as recommended.
If you prefer the baking method to frying, bake heat oven to 375°, place coated eggplant on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, turning over once to make sure they brown evenly. This option will not result in a crispy coating and frying gives, but it is still delicious.
Other Substitutions for the Eggplant Frites
This dish will also work well using zucchini or doing a combination of the two – if you absolutely hate eggplant (I recommend you try with) or happen to have zucchini on hand. One big advantage to either is that both are in season at the same time. And if you don’t like goat cheese, use grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano instead.
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Taking a Bite of Eggplant Frites
Even if you’re not an eggplant fan, I can promise you’ll love this dish. The flavors of roasted red pepper, crunchy eggplant, with ooey, gooey cheese is just divine. My hubby did his usual satisfied moaning of how good it is. And he is always thrilled if he has a leftover for later – which sometimes happens, but not often.
If you do have leftovers, pop back into the oven under the broiler to reheat. Do NOT put the Eggplant Frites into the microwave or you’ll be suffering from wilted, soggy eggplant.
I would love to hear from you if you give the Eggplant Frites with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis a try. So, please leave me a comment. And if you have any questions, drop them there as well.
Eggplant Frites with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
- 1 batch Roasted Red Pepper Coulis see notes for recipe
- 1 large eggplant sliced about 1/4″ thick
- 1/2 cup Kosher salt for salting eggplant
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp water
- 3 cups breadcrumbs Panko offers more crunch for texture
- 4 tsp Cantanzaro Herbs from Savory Spice Shop or use Italian seasoning with lemon zest added
- Olive oil for frying enough to cover pan with 1/4″ of oil and for 3 to 4 batches
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 5 oz fresh mozzarella sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Balsamic vinegar glaze and olive oil for drizzling
- fresh basil leaves for garnish
- Place eggplant slices in a colander or strainer and salt with Kosher salt for at least 30 minutes to an hour before use. Place in the sink or over a bowl because you are releasing the extra water from inside the eggplant. Do not skip this step because it will leave you with soggy eggplant slices.
- Once your eggplant has released the water, rinse well to remove the excess salt and then set aside to dry before using.
- In a shallow dish, lightly beat the egg with two tablespoons of water, set aside until ready to coat your eggplant.
- In another shallow dish, mix breadcrumbs and Cantanzaro herb mix (or Italian seasoning with lemon zest) together.
- Set a small pot of the Roasted Red Pepper Coulis to warm, so that it's ready when you start plating.
- Add olive to large skillet and heat to almost smoking over medium high heat.
- Dip eggplant slices into the egg mixture, then into the breadcrumb mix, evenly coating on all sides. Then place into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a platter lined with paper towels or a wire rack. Continue frying until all eggplant is cooked. *See notes for baking instructions.
- Set your oven on the broil option and get out a large baking sheet.
- Place the fried eggplant slices on the sheet. Then divide the goat cheese evenly between the slices. Finally, top each slice with one slice of the fresh mozzarella.
- Place baking sheet in the oven under the broiler until the cheese is melting and brown. Keep a close eye on it because it can burn quickly.
- To serve, place about a 1/4 cup of the Roasted Red Pepper Coulis onto a plate, spreading evenly. Then top with one or two eggplant slices – depending on the size of your eggplant.
- Drizzle the Balsamic vinegar and olive oil around the edges of the plate for serving. Finish by tucking a couple of basil leaves.
- Makes about 8 appetizer servings or 4 main dish servings.