Even if you are not a vegetarian you can enjoy some meatless meals. This one does not disappoint. These meatballs are packed full of bold flavour and even the biggest carnivores will feel satisfied. You can serve these simply with a basic tomato, some fresh basil and a shaving of grated Parmesan.
You will need:
- 1 small eggplant – baked should equal 1 cup
- 1 large bun or a few slices of bread crumbled
- 1/2 cup milk or water
- 1 ounce or a handful of dried mushrooms -soaked in 1/4 cup boiling water.
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- another bun or couple of slices of bread
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp parsley and basil – chopped fine
- 1/2 onion grated
- 3 cloves garlic -chopped fine
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- salt/pepper to taste
- your favourite tomato sauce to drown the meatballs in
Step 1: slice eggplant in half and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet (I always cover in parchment paper) bake 30-45 minutes or until very soft to the touch. Let cool until you can handle and with a spoon scoop out flesh. Chop until pretty much pureed. Set aside. If there is too much liquid you can drain in a colander.
Step 2: in a small bowl add torn bread and milk. Let sit for 10 minutes until completely wet and falling apart.
Step 3: take your favourite dried mushrooms and rehydrate by soaking in some boiling water. Leave 5 minutes and then drain liquid (this is great liquid to keep for the pasta sauce) Chop mushrooms fine.
Step 4: in a large bowl add eggplant, bread, mushrooms, Parmesan, chopped herbs, grated onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to determine how wet your mix is.
Add the egg yolk and another crumbled bun or 2 slices of bread. Mix again and add breadcrumbs if too wet. At this stage you can form a ball and fry it to see how firm it is and if it holds together well. If it falls apart add a bit more breadcrumbs or some more Parmesan cheese to the remaining mix and fry another test meatball. I like these to hold together but they are still on the softer side compared to a true meatball.
Step 5: using a small ice cream scoop or your hands form even sized small meatballs.
Step 6: in a large pan with some olive oil. Cook meatballs until browned on all sides.
Step 7: add some tomato sauce to your pan with the meatballs. I keep the olive oil because I always use great oil but, if you prefer to drain the oil you can. Cook 15 minutes.
I serve a few meatballs with a bit of sauce and a grating of fresh Parmesan.