Crispy Eggplant with Tzatziki

This eggplant dish is light and mildly flavored -- a true delight.  Don't skimp on the quality olive oil.  It makes a difference both in texture and taste.  


1 medium eggplant, cut in 3/8" slices

Kosher salt

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

About 1- 1 1/2 cup Unflavored or Butter Olive Oil (use only quality olive oil - it makes a difference)

1/2 cup full fat or lite Greek yogurt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon fresh dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

1 medium clove garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup cucumber, minced

2 tablespoons red onion or shallot, minced

2 teaspoons lemon juice or Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar

Place sliced eggplant on a large plate or platter and generously sprinkle each slice with salt.  Let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes or until some of the liquid begins to seep out.  Rinse off the salt and pat each slice dry with paper towels.

Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs and sesame seeds in a flat bowl.  Combine flour, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a second bowl.  Whisk eggs in a third bowl.

Fill a large skillet or Dutch oven with a generous 1/4 inch olive oil, adding more as necessary, and heat over medium high.  Once the temperature reaches 350 degrees, working in batches, carefully dip each eggplant slice in the flour mixture, then the egg, and then the panko mixture, and place in the hot oil.  Fry 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the coating is golden brown and crispy.  Return to the wire rack to drain.

Combine the yogurt, sour cream, dill, garlic, cucumber, onion and lemon in a bowls and whisk.  The tzatziki can be made ahead of time, covered and chilled until serving.