Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the eggplant rounds on the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Bake for 15 minutes to soften. Set aside.
In a shallow bowl or plate, add whey protein isolate, some of the salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder and mix. In a separate bowl, combine pork rind crumbs, parmesan cheese shreds, some of the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. In a third bowl whisk two eggs with water, and remaining salt and pepper.
Heat a cast iron skillet (10” or larger) with oil about 2 inches deep to 375°F.
Dredge the eggplant slices in the whey protein mixture, followed by the egg wash, and then finally the pork rind and parmesan cheese combo. Add directly to the hot oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side, then set on a paper towel lined baking sheet to soak up excess grease. Sprinkle with more salt if desired. Fry the eggplant in batches as to not overcrowd the pan, and allow the oil to come back to full temperature between batches.
Serve with a fresh arugula side salad, ricotta cheese, lemon wedges, parmesan, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!