Jiló is a type of eggplant that’s often used in Brazilian cooking. About the size of a large egg, jiló turns from green to red as it ripens, though it’s traditionally eaten while still green.
Like eggplant, jiló can have a slightly bitter taste, but cutting it into slices and sprinkling it with salt helps draw out some of the bitterness. You’ll often find it in soups, sautés, or coated in cornmeal and fried. You can also try it pickled, steamed, or cooked with other veggies and served with rice or pasta.
This month try our featured recipe, Fried Jiló!
2 lbs. jiló
1½ cups bread crumbs
¾ cup flour
1 cup neutral oil
Cut jiló into ½-inch rounds. Lay out on paper towels, and sprinkle generously with salt. Allow to rest 10 to 15 minutes. Prepare a dredging station — put breadcrumbs in one shallow bowl or pie tin, flour in another, and whisked eggs with a splash of water into a third bowl. Season each dish with salt and pepper. After about 10 to 15 minutes, blot dry the jiló.
Starting with the flour, coat both sides of each jiló round, moving next into the egg mixture and lastly the bread crumbs.
Place a large cast iron or heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Pour in oil to about ¼ to ½ inch deep. Test to see if the oil is hot enough for frying by dropping in a touch of flour or breadcrumbs — if it sizzles, it’s ready to fry.
Place 4 or 5 slices of jiló carefully into the hot oil (depending on skillet size, but you want to have plenty of room between them to fry). Allow to fry 2 to 3 minutes per side, checking to see when they’re browned on one side, and using tongs to carefully flip and brown the other side. When both sides are nicely crispy and browned, carefully remove from the skillet one by one, and drain on a tray lined with paper towels. Sprinkle generously with more salt. Add more oil, if needed, to start the next batch of jiló rounds. Repeat until all the jiló is fried.
Serve as is as a side or appetizer with a fun, creamy dipping sauce such as mayo mixed with hot sauce, or mayo mixed with chopped garlic and herbs. Or make a fried jiló sandwich — layer on toasted bread with mayo, lettuce, and crispy bacon.