Bon Appétit, August 2011
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped kosher pickle or pickle relish
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1-pound eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2 rounds, then into 1/2-thick strips
Vegetable oil (for frying)
1 cup rice flour
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons za'atar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt plus more for seasoning
Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that includes sumac, herbs, and sesame seeds. It's available at specialty foods stores, Middle Eastern markets, and igourmet.com.
1. Whisk yogurt, chopped pickle, lemon zest, and oregano in a small bowl to blend. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Place eggplant in a large bowl. Add 2 cups ice and enough water to cover. Place a plate on top of eggplant to weigh it down. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
3. Pour oil into a large deep pot to a depth of 2". Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of pot and heat oil over medium heat to 325°. Meanwhile, whisk rice flour, lemon zest, za'atar, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon sea salt in a medium bowl to blend. Drain eggplant. Working in batches, toss damp eggplant in flour mixture to coat
4. Working in batches, fry eggplant, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per batch. (Reheat oil to 325° between batches.) Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with lemon juice and sea salt. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.