Disclaimer – there is no beer in this recipe. Or coffee. But. This recipe is P E R F E C T for a lovely nibble to go along with your pint(s), it is rather effortless to make and it is so versatile that it will easily become one of your favourite recipes for picnics, parties or even just for an easy meal in front of the telly watching endless Roland Garros matches (like me).
Yesterday I wasn’t in the mood for cooking. At all. I bought some huge aubergines at my favourite veggie stall in my local market last week and I had all the best intentions to cook amazing meals with them. Well, after a week, those poor aubergines were still in the veggie drawer of my fridge, begging to be cooked. It seems that my dear friend Claudia heard their call (or maybe she heard my stomach rumbling!) as yesterday morning she posted this amazing recipe here: Eggplant patties
It was love at first sight. I had to make them. I gave Claudia’s recipe a slight twist, but all credits to this amazing, super tasty, easy and incredible recipe goes to her and her brilliant cooking skills. By the way, you should check her blog, it is packed with amazing stuff that you will want to cook.
Ingredients (for about 4 people)
- 2 big aubergines
- half mozzarella
- 2 garlic cloves
- grated parmesan cheese
- an egg
- salt, pepper and spices
Grab your aubergines and poke them with a fork all over their skin. This will prevent them from splitting in your oven as the steam will be able to escape. Place them on a tray covered with baking sheet and put it in the oven at Gas Mark 4 for about 40 minutes or until a skewer can pierce them from side to side with no resistance.
Once cooked, take them off the tray, leave them to cool a bit till you can hold them with your hands without burning your fingers, cut the top and proceed to peel them. Take advantage of the natural moist aubergines have, place them into a bowl and reduce them to a lovely, creamy texture with a blender (any handheld blender will do the trick).
On a pan, pour some olive oil and gently fry your garlic. You can do it in two ways, really: if you, like me, love garlic a lot, you can chop it finely and it will become part of your meatballs. If you only like the flavour it gives, but hate the idea of eating it, either cut the cloves in two or even put them as they are and let them fry, being careful to take them off the pan when golden in colour (be careful not to burn garlic or you’ll have to throw away everything). Add your aubergine cream and spices. Let the water evaporate or your meatballs won’t stick together. Leave it on a side to cool.
On a bowl, gently beat an egg and add some parmesan. I’d say 3 to 4 table spoons should do, but feel free to add more. Once the aubergines’ cream is lukewarm or, even better, room temperature, add the egg & parmesan and mix together. Add couple of table spoons of breadcrumbs in the mix, that will help holding everything together and soak any residual water from the aubergines. If, like in Claudia’s magnificent recipe, you want to keep your meatballs plain and let aubergines be the king of the flavour, simply put some mixture in your hand, roll them into meatballs, cover them with breadcrumbs, put them on a tray covered in baking sheet and pop into the over as her recipe states.
My version is not as healthy I’m afraid. I decided to add mozzarella, you can easily chop some in small cubes and it is dead easy to incorporate it into your meatball, but listen: cheddar will do the trick just the same. I dare to say maybe Brie won’t be a bad idea either. I didn’t have lot of breadcrumbs so I fried them (and also because I was starving) and ate them as soon as they reached an edible temperature (just slightly below “3rd degrees burns”, to be precise).
If you can’t find breadcrumbs, panko will do work just fine. Claudia, I love you, thanks for this recipe, for all your recipes and most and foremost for being my dear, dear dear friend.