Sumac-Spiced Eggplant "Schnitzel" 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Weeknight Vegetarian May 22, 2013

The tart spice sumac, from a ground berry, gives this dish an unmistakably Middle Eastern flair. Find it at Middle Eastern markets or online spice purveyors such as Penzeys and Kalustyan's. If you can't find it, double the amount of lemon zest. Serve with tabbouleh.

Make Ahead: The bread crumb mixture can be assembled and refrigerated for up to 1 day. The eggplant can be coated with the bread crumb mixture and refrigerated for up to 1 day.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup unseasoned panko-style bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons ground sumac
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon whole or low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Olive oil, for frying


Trim off and discard the eggplant's stem, and cut the eggplant lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick slices.

Combine the bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon of the sumac, the cheese, mint, parsley, lemon zest, salt and a few grinds of pepper, spreading the mixture in a shallow bowl or plate.

Whisk the eggs and milk together in a separate shallow bowl or plate. Place the flour in a third bowl or plate. Dust the eggplant slices with flour, dip them in the egg mixture, then coat with the bread crumb mixture, using all of the latter.

Line a plate with several layers of paper towels.

Pour the oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a large skillet set over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding; fry the eggplant for about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown outside and tender inside. (Make sure it is frying relatively slowly so the inside isn't still too firm by the time the outside is browned.)

Use a slotted spatula to transfer the eggplant slices to the paper-lined plate. Season with salt and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sumac.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Modern Vegetarian," by Maria Elia (Kyle, 2009).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at