CRISPY EGGPLANT POLENTA BITES WITH HONEY & LIME

crispy eggplant polenta fries with honey + lime // @thefirstmesscrispy eggplant polenta fries with honey + lime // @thefirstmessGreen Kitchen Travels
The new Green Kitchen Stories cookbook arrived at my door about a month ago. Just looking at the cover of Green Kitchen Travels stirred up inspiration on new levels for me. There are beautiful photographs of food, yes, but also captures of the places that inspired each dish. I always say that a good cookbook should take you somewhere, whether it’s a new frame of awareness with food, or the photographs and voice have the ability to transport you in as much as possible. This one accomplishes both handily. There’s nothing about it that I don’t love.

I was deciding what recipe I would share with you all here when I realized I had cleared out almost all of my vegetable garden, save for two slowly yellowing eggplant stalks and some greens. I flipped to the “Street Food & Snacks” section of the book and knew I had to have these crispy eggplant bites with honey and lime. Everything I’ve ever wanted in a snack and they couldn’t have been simpler to throw together. I used some rather coarse polenta and the degree of crunch was so satisfying. Drizzles of honey and fresh lime juice right out of the oven are just too good. They taste convincingly deep fried!

the last bit of eggplant // @thefirstmesspre-trim // @thefirstmesscrispy eggplant polenta fries with honey + lime // @thefirstmess
CRISPY EGGPLANT POLENTA BITES WITH HONEY & LIME
Print the recipe here!
from Green Kitchen Travels
SERVES: 2-4
NOTES: I think these would be equally good with a fat pinch of nutritional yeast stirred into the polenta mixture and a little warm marinara for dippin’, just an idea though! ;)

1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch batons/wedges
3-4 cups unsweetened plant-based milk
1-2 cups organic, non-GMO corn grits/polenta
a fat pinch of fine sea salt
olive oil
zest of 1 lime (once you have the zest, cut the lime into wedges)
flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
runny honey or agave nectar if you’d like to keep these vegan

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and smear a bit of olive oil on it. Set aside.

Place the eggplant pieces in a large bowl and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Cover the pieces with the plant-based milk. Let the eggplant sit for an hour so that the bitterness can draw out.

Pour the corn grits/polenta into a shallow dish. Stir a good pinch of salt into the polenta. Arrange the soaked eggplant, dish of polenta, and lined baking sheet beside each other. Shake off excess milk from eggplant pieces and roll/press them in the polenta. Transfer coated pieces to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining eggplant. Drizzle the coated pieces with olive oil and slide the sheet into the oven.

Bake eggplant bites for 15-25 minutes, flipping them over once. Mine took the full 25 minutes, but I think this varies greatly on the actual eggplant and hotspots in your oven. Once done, remove from the oven and sprinkle bites with lemon zest, flaky sea salt, honey and lime juice. Serve hot!

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