2 large eggplants, sliced into thin slices (no thick rounds here!)
2 cups breadcrumbs (preferably fresh) (can substitute panko breadcrumbs)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (can substitute a tablespoon of garlic powder)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Oil for frying
Lemon wedges for serving
- Prepare the eggplants: Wash and slice eggplants lengthwise into approximately 1/2 inch thick slices. Sprinkle some salt on both sides of the eggplant slices and let them sit for about 20-30 minutes. This helps remove excess moisture and bitterness from the eggplants. After 30 minutes, pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels.
- Prepare the breading station: In three separate shallow dishes, place the flour and seasonings in one, beaten eggs with seasonings in another, and breadcrumbs mixed with grated Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in the third shallow bowl.
- Bread the slices of eggplant: Dredge eggplant slices in the flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip eggplant slices into the beaten egg, ensuring it’s coated evenly. Finally, coat the slice with the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere the breadcrumbs to the eggplant. Repeat this process for all the eggplant slices.
- Fry the eggplant cutlets: In a large skillet or frying pan, heat enough oil over medium-high heat to cover the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot (around 350°F/180°C), carefully place the breaded eggplant slices in a single layer at the bottom of the pan, being careful not to overcrowd them. Fry the cutlets for about 2-3 minutes on each side (5-7 minutes total) or until they turn golden brown and crispy in the hot oil. You may need to fry them in batches.
- Drain excess oil: When the crispy eggplant cutlets are cooked, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
- Serve: Arrange the crispy eggplant slices on a serving platter and garnish with some fresh parsley and fresh basil if desired. Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side to squeeze the lemon juice over the cutlets before eating.