After years of appearing on American dinner tables mostly as an ethnic specialty (as eggplant parmigiana, say, or maybe in a Szechuan-style stir-fry), eggplant has arrived as a mainstream food. Crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside—this is eggplant at its best.Serves 4-5
1 cup flour
1 1⁄4 cups white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium eggplants, thinly sliced into rounds
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Whisk wine into flour, beating until batter is smooth and the consistency of thin pancake batter, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Preheat oven to 200°. Salt or freeze eggplant slices to lessen bitterness and remove excess moisture. Pour oil into a heavy skillet to a depth of 2". Heat oil to 375° or until it sizzles when you drop in a little batter. (If oil isn't hot enough, eggplant will absorb too much of it.)
3. Dip eggplant slices in batter, then drop into oil—as many at a time as you can without crowding the pan. Fry until golden, cooking on both sides, then drain on paper towels. Keep fried slices warm in oven.
4. When all eggplant slices are cooked, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon.