When I went to film school in New Zealand years ago, I became really good friends with another student called Michelle who lived just around the corner from my house. On the weekends, we’d often hang out at her place with other school friends to talk about
boys film projects together. Michelle was a vegetarian which at the time was kind of a novelty to me (I blame my French meat-loving heritage ;) and I remember being amazed by all the yummy vegetarian nibbles she’d make for us each week. My ultimate favorite was her ‘eggplant fries’ which were so good that people would often fight over them.
To this day it’s still one of my favorite vegetarian snacks and one that I often make it for parties or for myself. I adapted the recipe slightly over the years and incorporated some Greek flavors into it but at the core it’s still one of those simple but delicious dishes that you can whip up for your friends in a tick.
Even though I haven’t seen Michelle for a few years now (I hear she now makes awesome independent documentaries in the US!) I still almost always think of her when I make these eggplant fries. Who knows, maybe one day our paths will cross again and it will be my turn to cook them for her!
Baked Eggplant chips with tzatziki sauce
For the eggplant fries
1 medium sized eggplant, cut into thick, ‘fry’ like sticks
1/2 cup plain white flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp oregano (or mixed herbs or dried basil)
1/2 tsp salt and freshly cracked pepper
1-2 tbs olive oil
For the tzatziki sauce
1/2 small cucumber, grated and well drained
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
2 tbs finely chopped fresh mint (or dill, or a mix of both)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
NB: This recipe can also be made with zucchini instead of eggplant.
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Using three shallow bowls, create an ‘assembly line’ by pouring the flour into the first bowl, the beaten egg into the second, and the breadcrumbs, oregano and salt and pepper into the third.
Take an eggplant chip and dredge it in the flour. Then dip it into the egg and roll it in the breadcrumbs. Once the the eggplant is evenly coated in breadcrumbs, place it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment (baking) paper. Repeat the process with the remaining eggplant and arrange them in a single layer.
Drizzle the eggplant chips with a little olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 20 min (or until crisp and golden) flipping the chips half way through the cooking process.
Whilst your eggplant chips are cooking make the tzatziki sauce by combining all of the ingredients into a small serving bowl.
Serve the sauce alongside the warm chips.