Eggplant Home Fries

from The Fearless Frying Cookbook



They called this "French Fried Eggplant" at the old Berry's-on-the-Hill Restaurant in Orangeburg, South Carolina, my hometown. The vegetables and fish were always local and fresh at Berry's, which was the only Duncan Hines-recommended restaurant in the area before interstate highways were built. It was a famous stop along Highway 301, one of the old major north-south corridors.

1 large eggplant will serve 3 people. Be sure to buy firm ones with bright green tops; they're less likely to have seeds.
2 large, very firm eggplants
Salt
Peanut oil for frying
1/2 cup fine white cornmeal or corn flour

1. About 45 minutes before serving, peel the eggplants and cut them as for home fries (large irregular fries). Place them in a bowl of salted ice water for about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 200° . Place a wire rack over a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Drain the eggplant well. Pour at least 2 inches of oil into a stockpot or Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat. Put the cornmeal or corn flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the eggplant well, dusting off any excess.
3. When the oil has reached 365° , fry the eggplant in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove to the prepared baking sheet in the oven to drain and to stay warm while you finish the frying. Serve immediately.