One of the activities they offered was identifying the origins of some fruits and veggies from around the world. And then tasting them! Since one of the fruits was an eggplant (yes, it's a fruit!) and they didn't want to serve it raw, they just had one there to show. At the end, when they were offering up the leftover samples for additional taste-testing, Z asked to try the eggplant. So they let her take the whole thing home!
Since I wasn't in the mood for mushy fries (ask me about the zucchini fries I made recently. Bleah!) I looked into making eggplant chips. And even found a recipe! But some of the reviews said they were still mushy. So I decided to try my own thing.
1 eggplant, sliced thinly
1/4 tsp each salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika
2 tsp powdered parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
olive oil cooking spray (or 2-3 Tbsp olive oil)
salt/pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Step 1: In a small bowl, combine salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cheese powder, and Italian seasoning. Set aside.
Step 2: On parchment-paper-lined baking tray(s,) lay eggplant slices out evenly. It's okay if they touch or overlap a bit, but try to have less than 1/4-inch of overlap.
Step 3: Spray with olive oil cooking spray (or brush on olive oil.) Sprinkle seasoning mixture onto eggplant slices.
Step 4: Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 F until edges start to brown and crisp.
Well. Mixed reviews. On the one hand, they were not crispy. So maybe the "crunchy" statement by the original recipe writer was based on the bread crumbs on the outsides being crunchy. Since mine were sliced thinner than those half-fries! And I thought that using the baking spray instead of drizzling or brushing on oil would help make them drier as well. *sigh*
The seasoning was tasty, although Z and I needed more salt. But we're salt fiends! She ended up eating almost half the eggplant (I had enough for 2 baking-trays' worth, and she ate most of the first batch.)
But the fact that Z not only tried them but ate a bunch, I call this a win.
Update: A friend shared some links about salting them first to make them crispier. Here's a recipe (you should be able to alter the seasonings to fit your taste.) And then there's a debate on salting or not salting to suck out some moisture and bitterness (I did notice some of them had a bitter aftertaste. Turns out it's an oil made by the seeds! I just figured it was what veggies do, since my parsnip chips had the same taste, and some raw carrots do sometimes too.)