From Sicily to Napoli, Calabria to Puglia, le Polpette are a typical dish not only of the Italian culinary tradition. Of course the recipe we are presenting today is the Italian version of it. A recipe that is the kingpin of the no-food-waste culture as well as a vegetarian versionof the well known meatballs.
LE POLPETTE DI MELANZANE, AKA EGGPLANT BREADBALLS.
Everyone knows meatballs. They are considered a symbol of Italian food. However they are not eaten everyday but indeed reserved for special occasions. The Italian recipes are often a peasant version of a recipe that belong to the nobles in the past. The meat was not a common thing on the Italian tables in the past because it was quite expensive. Vegetables were ever so abundant, thus vegetables were often served.
The polpette recipe is also one of many recipes made where you can minimize the wastage of food. One of the main ingredients is actually the stale bread. You know, the one that’s hard like a rock and you can use as hammer. Yes, with this recipe you will never throw away any bread even when it gets hard.
LE POLPETTE : INGREDIENTS & METHOD
Ingredients (50 polpette)
- 1 Eggplants;
- 1 kg of stale bread;
- pecorino cheese;
- salt & pepper;
- basil, parsley, mint;
- e.v.o oil;
- 3 eggs;
- vegetable oil;
The Bread. Let’s start to roughly chop the bread and soak it in water to make it softer. Then leave in a strainer so it will drain the extra water.
The eggplant. Remove the top and cut in slices then in small cubes. Put the cubes in another strainer (I’m sure you have more then one, if not ask to your neighbor, then invite him/her/them for lunch – this is how you can make friends without social network).
The herbs. In this recipe the herbs are very important. We are very lucky because our friend Il Viandante always bring to us herbs from his veggie garden. The basil, the parsley, they have a beautiful scent that fills the entire kitchen.
Chop the basil and the parsley, I also used the mint because it simply amplifies all the flavor of the fried eggplants. My mum doesn’t use the mint, just basil and parsley, but look at me: I am not a child anymore! I can add all the ingredients I want in the recipe now! ( I’m joking Ma, your polpette are always the best! – even without mint).
In a pan add some e.v.o oil and chopped garlic and shallow fry the eggplant cubes. Place them on some cooking paper to absorb the extra oil.
In a bowl mix together bread, herbs, pecorino cheese, eggs, and the eggplants. Mix everything till it become uniform. It shouldn’t be too dry.
Keep a spoon of the mixture and with your hand make a ball, then roll it in the breadcrumb and place on a try. Repeat till you finish the mixture. It is a lot? If you had call the neighbor now it would have been much easier!
Now in a pan preheat the vegetable oil and when it is hot enough start to cook the eggplant breadballs( don’t put too much or the oil temperature will cool down)
Serve and eat while hot. Enjoy it as antipasto or as you like. With friends it is better!
(Hey, how is the neighbor? )