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Why does she fry, like, everything, you ask? Because, just like with dieting, I had these intense cravings for all the foods I couldn’t eat anymore the second after my doc said “sorry, no mo’ gluten.” But, unlike dieting, it’s not good to let yourself have a little guilty pleasure bite…that would be bad. Like, can’t-get-out-of-bed-for-days-because-of-the-pain bad. And watching other people eat all the things you can’t is almost just as painful. I can remember days in grad school where I was so physically tired, so emotionally drained, and so damn hungry that the sight of someone else eating a cookie would make me cry. True story, ask Jen.

So, after putting my cooking training wheels back on, I started looking into ways to “bread” vegetables and meat (don’t forget, I’m from the south), and soon discovered that corn flakes aren’t a bad substitute for things like panko and fine bread crumbs. I kept picking up eggplants one month at the market, so I had to find as many ways to feed Marco eggplant as I could before he realized we were eating it literally every day of the week. I found this recipe of Emeril’s and just had to do it. Now, it’s my go-to eggplant recipe. Which is also why it’s listed under the dinner section instead of sides, because sometimes you just have to pig out and eat a whole plate for dinner. Ok, every time, but with a small salad! That makes a meal, right?

1/2 cup of cornstarch
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups of corn flakes, smashed to bits (I pour corn flakes into a plastic ziplock and hit ’em with a giant spoon until I’m satisfied)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of Emeril’s Essence, or a simple Cajun seasoning, or any seasoning for that matter
1 eggplant, cut into half-an-inch rounds
Vegetable oil

(This recipe does break my favorite rule of always throwing everything into the same bowl so I don’t have to do dishes, but it’s worth it.) Fill three separate bowls with the cornstarch, eggs (with salt), and corn flakes (with seasoning). Prepare a large sheetpan or platter with paper towels, and pour about half-an-inch of oil into a large skillet set to medium-high heat. Dredge your eggplant slices first in the cornstarch, coating fulling, then dip in the egg, and then in the corn flakes. Place it on the paper towels to give it time to absorb and dry, and then repeat with all of the eggplant slices. Begin frying your eggplant slices in small batches, about a minute on each side, until nice and golden brown. (Be gentle when flipping, so as not to disturb too much of the “breading”.) Remove back to the paper towels to drain, and repeat until all eggplant have been FRIED!

These are soooo good. The eggplant stays so soft and warm on the inside, and that crunchy outside has the perfect amount of flavoring. Seriously, you have to try these. You can serve them with marinara and a salad, but mine somehow disappear from the paper towels and don’t seem to make it to our plates…..