Wayne and Tracie invited us over Wednesday night for a Turkish Themed Potluck. I love potlucks, and I love Wayne and Tracie, so I immediately hit the cookbook collection to search for an appropriate recipe. I ended skimming through Mediterranean-themed Olives & Oranges by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox, and settled on a recipe for Fried Eggplant Balls. Simple and delicious, and easy to make ahead, I was sold.
They turned out to be a huge hit at the potluck, especially among those who claimed to be former eggplant haters. Success! I'll definitely be making these again.
Fried Eggplant Balls
From Olives & Oranges by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox
2 large eggplants (about 2 3/4 lb)
1 large egg
2 cups medium-ground fresh bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil for shallow frying
Heat oven to 375 F. Prick each eggplant several times with a fork. Roast until cooked through, about 1 hour. Let cool.
Halve eggplants lengthwise, scrape flesh from skin, and place in a fine sieve set over a mixing bowl; discard skin. Drain for 4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Transfer eggplant flesh to a food processor (discard juices). Add egg, bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic, and salt; pulse to combine. Transfer to a plate or bowl. Form into forty 1-inch balls.
Fill a large skillet with 1/4 inch oil and heat to 360 F to 365 F. Using a slotted spoon add several eggplant balls into hot oil to cook until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining balls.
Serve eggplant balls hot, dusted with a little grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and chopped parsley.