Think of these as . . . meatballs without the meat. Vegetarian meatballs? Aubergine croquettes? Balls o’ eggplant? Polpette di melanzane?
Whatever you choose to call them, I call them fabulous and this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday recipe.
Yesterday was market day, which, ever since I got back from Sicily and a fabulous plate of Pasta alla Norma, has meant a handful of eggplants coming home with me.
I love eggplant balls without any kind of sauce, but you could certainly use a basic tomato sauce as a dip (such as this dipping sauce for fried mozzarella) or even something creamy like perhaps you’d use (although I don’t) for fried zucchini.
Also if you want to make them a little fancier, shape them wider and flatter instead of in balls. Either way these are *delicious* and also a great way to hide eggplant in something tasty.
(Polpette di melanzane)
[makes about 18 balls]
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (put aside 1/4 cup for rolling before frying)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano/Grana Padano cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil and/or parsley, chopped
- 1 egg
- salt to taste
- olive oil for frying
1. Put pot of water on high heat. When water reaches a boil, turn down the heat a bit, cut eggplants in half (and then in half again if you’re using the smaller, fatter eggplants like I do), leaving the skins on, sprinkle a good bit of salt into the water, and then add the eggplant. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until they are tender.
2. Remove eggplant, drain, and pat dry, letting them cool before chopping them into small cubes, about 1/4 inch in size.
3. Put eggplant in large mixing bowl and add bread crumbs, garlic, cheese, parsley, basil, egg, and salt and mix well. If the mixture is too moist, add more bread crumbs.
4. Shape into balls and then roll balls in breadcrumbs.
5. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium/high heat. When oil is hot, add eggplant balls one at a time without crowding them. Turn them often with a wooden spoon to make sure all sides get brown, which should take anywhere from 3-6 minutes.