No, it isn’t October already. What you’re looking at is not a miniature pumpkin but rather a full-grown Turkish orange eggplant, a two-inch heirloom variety, available at the Greenmarket now. The little buggers are almost too cute to eat, but don’t let that stop you. Slice them paper-thin on a mandoline and fry them in oil to make eggplant chips. Or even better, dredge them in cornmeal the way they do green tomatoes down south, and call them fried orange eggplants.
Fried Orange Eggplants
12 Turkish orange eggplants (at Bodhitree Farm at Union Square Greenmarket)
Vegetable oil for frying
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tbs. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup milk
(1) Cut the eggplants into half-inch slices, discarding ends. In a large skillet, add oil to a depth of approximately 1/3 inch and heat over medium heat until very hot. In a large shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal, salt, and pepper. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs. (2) Working in batches, dredge eggplant slices in seasoned cornmeal, dip in egg wash, then dredge once more in cornmeal. (3) Add as many slices to the hot oil that will fit without crowding the pan and cook on each side until golden brown. Serves 4 to 6.