Beginning with either a large purple eggplant or some smaller purple, green or white ones the size and shape of zucchini, you are better off baking eggplant than frying them in oil, even if you are going to use them in Eggplant Parmesan.
The reason for this is that, as most cooks learn, eggplant is something of a vegetable sponge that soaks up any oil that it is exposed to in a frying pan. We have all found ourselves adding more and more oil to the skillet as we attempt to get it ready for our casserole.
In doing this feat of culinary magic, you are going to need two things: Panko-style bread crumbs and egg whites. Separate two to four eggs, refrigerate the yolks and beat the whites to loosen their structure but not create foam.
Once that is done you can prepare your bread crumbs by taking one cup or so and adding some salt and pepper. Peel and slice your eggplant--the small ones look impressive when sliced on the bias--and proceed to move them from the egg dip to the bread crumbs and from there to a flat baking sheet such as a jelly-roll pan.
If you like, by the way, you can forego the salt and pepper and just sprinkle the slices when they are ready to go into the oven. Bake them at 350 degrees for about half an hour and there you go!
You will be able to make a lovely, simple dish by plating the slices and covering them with tomato sauce and shredded cheese, and then popping them back in the oven to heat everything. That will be delicious.
You can also use your deep-fat fryer (in my case a Fry Daddy that I got at my neighborhood Fry's Supermarket in Tucson) and deep-fry them for a kind of Fried Zucchini just like the restaurants, and serve them with dipping red sauce. For that I would use the smaller eggplant, and I'd look for them at Sprouts, where they have a large organic section, or at the Food Conspiracy Co-Op in the Tucson University area, where their produce is organic.
Smaller eggplant are harder to find than the regular size, so buy them when you see them and try a new approach to making eggplant a family favorite. They may look spongy and ordinary, but when cooked they become meaty and melting. And peel them whether they are large or small. I will never forget once when I was at a restaurant and ordered breakfast and the "chef" thought that raw eggplant tossed on the grill to warm them was an edible dish. According to my waiter he was miffed when I sent it back, but hey, he wasn't much of a cook as far as I am concerned. So peel them, batter them, bake them and enjoy the delectable real thing.