Author Notes: With a crispy crust and juicy center, these cutlets are just as addictive as their chicken counterparts. Eat with a couple of sides (like sautéed greens and potato salad). Turn into a sandwich. Chop up and add to a salad. Cover in tomato sauce and mozzarella and broil until bubbly. Dip in ranch dressing like an oversized nugget. You can’t go wrong. —Emma Laperruque
Prep time: 1 hrs 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
1 large eggplant
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus, to taste
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 ounce Parmesan (ungrated)
1 cup panko
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Cut off the top of the eggplant. Use a peeler to remove the skin. Cut lengthwise into ½-inch thick slices. Sprinkle both sides of each eggplant slice with salt. Line a rimmed sheet pan with paper or kitchen towels. Add the eggplant slices in a single layer. Top with another layer of kitchen or paper towels. Set another sheet pan on top. Let the eggplant slices hang out (aka, drain their excess water) for 30 to 60 minutes; the full hour is preferable, but not necessary if you’re pressed for time.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dredging station: Add the flour to a shallow bowl or rimmed plate; season with a pinch of salt. Add the eggs to a shallow bowl; season with a pinch of salt and whisk with a fork until smooth. Add the Parmesan to a food processor and process until a fine meal forms. Add the panko, black pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, hot paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the food processor, then pulse until combined. Try a bit and adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Combine the oils in a large cast-iron skillet. Set on the stove over medium-high heat.
- While the oil is heating up, bread the eggplant slices: Dry each one with a paper or kitchen towel. Dredge both sides in flour, then egg, then seasoned panko. Set on a separate plate.
- To test if the oil is hot enough, add a panko crumb to the pan. It should immediately sizzle—not sink to the bottom, not burn. When it’s hot enough, add a couple breaded eggplant slices (don’t overcrowd or they won’t brown properly). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until deeply golden brown.
- Transfer the just-fried eggplant to a paper towel–lined plate to sop up any extra grease, then transfer to a wire rack to stay crispy.
- Fry the remaining eggplant slices in the same way. These are best served hot.