I have a not-so-secret love of cheeses, especially mozzarella. My old roommate and I would buy a tub of mozzarella balls and force ourselves to restrict how many we’d eat just so it would last longer then the ride home from the store.
This relatively simple though a bit tedious to start.
- 2 large eggplants (2 pounds total)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- Olive oil (for brushing and frying)
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/4 cups plain dry breadcrumbs, divided
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 4 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese (mozzarella affumicata), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- marinara sauce for dipping
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut eggplants crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place on layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Brush 2 large baking sheets with oil. Pat eggplant dry; arrange in single layer on prepared sheets. Brush lightly with oil. Bake until eggplant is tender and dry, about 1 hour. Cool slightly; chop coarsely.
- Whisk 2 egg, grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Stir in chopped eggplant (mixture will be soft). Spread 1 cup breadcrumbs on plate. Whisk 1 egg and flour in another bowl. Press and shape eggplant mixture into 1 1/4 -inch-diameter balls. Press 1 piece smoked mozzarella into center of each ball, making sure eggplant mixture covers cheese. Dip balls, 1 at a time, into egg batter; roll in breadcrumbs to coat.
- Pour enough oil into large skillet to reach depth of 1/4 inch; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add balls to skillet; sauté until browned, turning often, about 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
Things to try:
I’ve seen a note that said that this recipe is delicious with sautéed mushroom chopped and mixed with the eggplant.
Also I heard it comes out much better and easier to use if you put the eggplant along with the thyme, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, etc in a food processor.