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Shared by Léa Karsenty

Fried Eggplants with Preserved Lemons

Yield: 2 cups, serving 6-8Time: 25 min

Shared by Léa Karsenty

Fried eggplants on oval serving dish atop white lace tablecloth.
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Judy Haubert. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Fried Eggplants with Preserved Lemons

Yield: 2 cups, serving 6-8Time: 25 min

Family Journey

Figuig, MoroccoMecheria, AlgeriaOran, Algeria
Toulouse, FranceParis

Flavored with tangy preserved lemon, this deliciously silky eggplant is a favorite of the women in Léa Karsenty's family. Peeling and salting the eggplants before frying ensures ideal texture and flavor; don’t skimp on the oil, either. 

Read more about Léa's family in "How a Family of Strong Women Spends Yom Kippur in Toulouse," and try their recipes for artichoke heart salad, saffron chicken broth with toasted pasta and vegetables, and cumin fava beans.


  • 2 medium globe eggplants (around 2 lbs.) 
  • ½ cup sunflower or other neutral oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 whole preserved lemon 
  • Sea salt, to taste


  • Step 1

    Peel and cut your eggplants into 1” cubes. Sprinkle the eggplant cubes with sea salt and let sit for 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is beaded with liquid. Blot the liquid off of the eggplant. 

  • Step 2

    Heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half of the eggplant cubes to the skillet, and fry until golden and browned, around 4-5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

  • Step 3

    Heat the remaining oil and repeat with the rest of the eggplant, frying until it is nicely browned. Remove from the skillet and add to the bowl. Add the minced garlic to the remaining oil in the skillet and let sizzle for 30 seconds, until just fragrant. Remove from the heat and add to the eggplant.

  • Step 4

    Carefully remove the peel of the preserved lemon; you can discard the flesh or save it for another use. Finely dice the lemon peel and combine it with the eggplant, mixing well. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve.