Meet your new favourite air fryer recipe! The air fryer perfectly cooks these panko-coated eggplant and zucchini coins – tender on the inside and super crispy on the outside. They are deliciously nuanced with a touch of rosemary and drizzle of honey to finish. Make a batch of these as an appetizer, side dish or snack and watch them disappear in front of your eyes. Should you have leftovers, they reheat in the air fryer back to crispy perfection.
Note 1: Several eggplant varieties are widely available – Italian, American, Chinese and Japanese. Chinese or Japanese eggplants are narrower, have thinner skins and fewer seeds making them a little less bitter. I prefer them for this recipe but of course, any eggplant can be used in this recipe.
Note 2: If you don’t have sprayable oil, toast panko crumbs in a skillet with a bit of oil until golden, being careful not to burn them. Cool fully and use in recipe. Of course, you can omit this step – the eggplant and zucchini discs will be paler in colour and not as golden brown as pictured.
Related: Healthy Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites
Prepare eggplant and zucchini: wash and trim off ends. Slice crosswise into discs a little thinner than ¼-inch.
Prepare breading station by setting out three shallow dishes. In the first dish, place flour. In the second dish, whisk an egg with 3 tablespoons of water (or whisk 2 large eggs without water). In the third dish, mix panko, rosemary and salt.
For each eggplant and zucchini coin, dredge lightly in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture, shaking off excess. And place in panko mixture. Scoop panko on top and press gently with fingertips, flip and press again to adhere crumbs to both sides. Shake off excess crumbs.
In batches as needed, arrange eggplant and zucchini discs in a single layer with a little bit of space between them. Spray with oil on top (see foot note 2 if you don’t have sprayable oil). Air fry at 385°F (no preheat needed) for 8 minutes on the first side, flip, spray again and air fry another 3 minutes or longer to get golden brown. Remove from air fryer, sprinkle with flaky salt while still warm and keep them on a wire rack while continuing with remaining batches.
Drizzle with a little honey just before serving. Tip: If honey has thickened from storage, place in a microwavable dish and gently microwave in 5-second increments until it is tepid and liquid again for drizzling.
Storing and reheating: refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Reheat in air fryer at 385°F for 3 minutes without additional oil or flipping.