Eggplant parmesan bites are an excellent, bite-sized appetizer fit for any time of day or night.
Eggplant is one of those really polarizing vegetables. A person either loves it or hates it, for the most part. And for many, many years, I fell into the camp of people who hated it. It just tasted bland, flavorless and boring. I’d always give it a second chance, grabbing one or two at the farmer’s market to test. And every year, the same results stuck. I couldn’t make myself like eggplant.
Then a few months ago, I decided it was time to try it once more. Joanne posted this Italian wedding soup that included some plump, crispy looking eggplant meatballs. I didn’t make the soup but pulled together a batch of the meatballs for our dinner in the evening. Let me tell you, these meatballs did NOT disappoint. All those other eggplant dishes I’d tried previously were forgotten. I now loved eggplant.
I think I’d probably never prepared eggplant properly before, hence the hatred. It needs a loving hand, a generous seasoning, a little breading. After the meatballs, I started buying eggplant regularly. This iteration – these eggplant parmesan bites – may be my favorite version of the nightshade. Crispy, perfectly seasoned, bite-sized and served up alongside a generous heaping of marinara, they make an excellent appetizer for any party. And here is the best part: eggplant is so hearty, you don’t realize the meat is missing. I know, it sounds silly. But I’ve tricked quite a few people with those meatballs and these bites are welcome at our dinner table most nights. Win for me!
- 1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- oil for frying
- marinara sauce for serving
- Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let it sit and release some moisture for 15 minutes. Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
- Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. There should be at least an inch of oil in the pot.
- While it heats, take the eggplant and toss it in the flour. Run the eggplant through the eggs to coat, then toss them in the breadcrumb mixture to coat.
- Place some of the eggplant in the oil. Be sure not to overcrowd the pot. Once golden, remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with more eggplant until all has been fried.
- Serve with marinara sauce.