Fried Eggplant Croutons are perfect on soups or pasta
I made these croutons to be served with my Creamy Comfort Tomato Soup. I came up with this recipe on a cold rainy Florida night. It was one of those storms where the rain was actually nice and chilly, not a muggy 100% humidity, Florida kind of rain. It was perfect soup weather. The eggplant croutons are perfect on top of that soup, OR can be a great accompaniment to other soups or pasta dishes.
At the time, my husband and I were on a serious soup kick but he was craving eggplant parmesan. It definitely would’ve hit the spot to go that route, but given that soup was on my mind, this is what I made.
These are the most sinful little nuggets of cheesy, crunchy eggplant that can sit on top of a velvety rich tomato soup. Once you sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on the top, oh my goodness, it is just delicious. Please welcome Eggplant Parmesan Croutons to add to your soup repertoire.
Let’s focus on these eggplant croutons for this recipe.
They are wow, simply wow! I could eat these like popcorn! They take a bit of preparation time and a little TLC, but they make it worth the work. They are crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
You will not miss eating a full-blown eggplant parm. The flavors and the textures in this soup will fulfill all your eggplant parm cravings.
Recipe Instructions for the eggplant croutons:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the eggplant into 1 inch cubes. sprinkle generous amounts of salt all over the cubes. Transfer the eggplant to a large sift and let sit for 10 minutes. After the eggplant cubes have “sweated” for 10 minutes with the salt, wash them thoroughly and pat dry.
In a bowl, season the flour with salt and pepper. In another bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, and salt the mixture. On a plate, mix breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. This is your breading station.
I like to do this breading station assembly line in batches of 5-7 cubes.
Start by coating the eggplant in the flour, shake off any excess flour. Follow by dropping the cubes into the egg mixture, and end with rolling them in the breadcrumbs. Make sure all sides are coated evenly.
Once the breading is all done, heat oil to 350° in a deep pan with 1/2 cup of vegetable oil.
Fry the eggplant in batches, add more oil when needed. Make sure you rotate the croutons so they brown evenly on all 4 sides.
Once, fried, scoop them on to a paper towel to absorb the excess oil and salt them again while they are still hot right out of the oil.
I recommend you try one crouton at this point. Check and see if the middle of it is nice and creamy and all the way cooked. Sometimes the larger croutons tend to take a bit longer. Eggplant is moody like that. It loves to be loved. So, if you find that the larger croutons are 100% done in the middle, no worries!
If some larger croutons are not done, preheat an oven to a nice high 400° and pop the larger croutons in, on a tin-foil lined baking sheet, for 5-7 minutes to finish the cooking. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn.
We want the oven to be hot hot hot because if its not, the croutons will get soggy.
Once the croutons are all fried and/or baked for that extra time, sprinkle generous amounts of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
The parmesan will stick and melt itself onto the oil on the croutons. I originally came up with this recipe to be served with my Comfort Tomato The soup makes them shine right on center stage. But, you can serve these croutons with pasta or over a nice salad. I’m thinking arugula, fresh tomatoes and a creamy balsamic vinaigrette. The options are endless.
If you go the soup route, serve the soup in a deep bowl, add the eggplant croutons on top of the soup. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy!
- Deep frying pan
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 medium eggplant cubed in 1' squared
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs whisked
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the eggplant into 1 inch cubes.
- Salt the cubes with generous amounts of salt. Let the eggplant sit in a sifter for 10 minutes.
- Rinse the eggplant thoroughly with water then pat dry.
- In a bowl, season the flour with salt and pepper.
- In another bowl, combine the parmesan cheese and teh seasoned breadcrumbs.
- In batches of 5 cubes or so, coat the eggplant in the flour, shake the excess off.
- Dip the floured cubed in the whisked egg.
- Coat the eggwashed cubes with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Repeat this process with the remaining eggplant cubes.
- In a deep frying pan, heat some peanut oil to 350°.
- Fry the eggplant 5-7 cubed at a time. Do not over crowd the pan.
- Flip the cubes around so they fry to golden perfection in all sides.
- Remove the fried cubes and lay on a papertowl to let the excess oil get absorbed.
- Try one crouton, if you feel they are not 100% creamy and done in the middle, place them on a baking sheet and bake at 400° for 7 minutes.
- Season with salt and sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese.