Shallow-Fried Eggplant

Shallow-Fried Eggplant

Ella Mittas doesn’t cook just to feed people. Her work is driven by an innate desire for community and the relentless exploration of her identity as a Greek-Australian. Her cookbook Ela! Ela! To Turkey and Greece, Then Home shares recipes from her travels and her family home, interwoven with personal essays—some uplifting, some poignant.

On top of being an excellent cook, Ella writes beautifully and doesn’t shy away from the raw and frayed moments she experiences throughout her travels. Ultimately, this cookbook is a homecoming—in the search for community elsewhere, she realises it’s been with her all along.

Her identity is in the plastic-covered dining table at her yiayia’s house. It’s in her papou sharing the crunchy caramelised pieces of meat directly of the spit roast in their back garden. It’s the ancient, scratchy radio playing bouzouki. It’s her family pinching her cheeks with affection until they hurt.  


And of course, her identity is in her food. Ella has kindly shared with us one of the recipes from her book, which is set to be released in October, but is currently available for pre-order here. Her shallow-fried eggplant topped with marinated tomato will be on repeat this spring.


Author: Ella Mittas


  • 2 large eggplants

  • canola oil for shallow frying

For the marinade

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1 clove garlic, sliced

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped

  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the garnish

  • 3 tomatoes, diced

  • 1/2 red onion, diced

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Start by peeling the eggplants. I peel mine lengthways in stripes, leaving 2-centimetre strips of skin in between. Then cut into rounds about 1 1/2 to 2 centimetres thick.

  2. Once cut, lightly salt the eggplant and douse in around 1/4 cup oil and leave to one side for five or so minutes to marinate.

  3. Heat up 2 centimetres of ol in a frypan over a medium heat.

  4. Shallow-fry the eggplant slices until very golden; you’ll need to keep topping up the oil as it’s absorbed.

  5. Once the eggplant is cooked, drain on a paper towel to get rid of excess oil.

  6. Arrange on a serving dish and season with salt. I arrange mine in circles that follow the line on the plate I’m serving on and spiral in.

  7. Mix the marinade ingredients well, then pour over the eggplant slices.

  8. Combine garnish ingredients and arrange over eggplant. Best served still slightly warm.