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GAGLIOPPO

CALABRIA RED PASSION

GAGLIOPPO

FOOD PAIRING

CRISPY EGGPLANT MEATBALLS

INGREDIENTS

1 large eggplant, about 1 pound (450 grams) unpeeled
Kosher salt
1 cup (80 grams) fresh breadcrumbs, or more if needed
1/4 cup (25 grams) freshly grated pecorino cheese
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup (50 grams) fine dry breadcrumbs
Extra virgin olive oil for frying

PREPARATION
  1. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch (2 1/2-centimeter) to 1 1/2 inch (4-centimeter) cubes. Bring 2 quarts (2 liters) of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil in a 4-quart (4-liter) pot over high heat and add the eggplant. Boil uncovered until the eggplant is soft, about 10 minutes. The cubes want to float, so you will need to push them down into the water repeatedly with a wooden spoon. Drain in a colander and let cool, then press on the eggplant with a wooden spoon to remove excess water. The eggplant should be as dry as possible. Very finely chop by hand.
  2. In a bowl, combine the eggplant, fresh breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley and garlic. Blend the ingredients gently with a fork, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix the egg in thoroughly. In a small skillet lightly coated with olive oil, fry a tablespoon of the mixture and taste for seasoning.
  3. Working with a little of the mixture at a time, roll between your palms into small balls about 1 inch (2 1/2 centimeters) in diameter and set them on a tray. If the mixture is too moist to roll easily, stir in a few more fresh breadcrumbs. Put the fine breadcrumbs in a small bowl, roll each ball in the crumbs to coat evenly, then set the coated balls aside on a clean tray.
  4. Pour olive oil into a 10-inch (25-centimeter) skillet to a depth of 1/2 inch (12 millimeters). Don’t skimp on the oil or the meatballs won’t fry properly. Turn the heat to medium. When the oil begins to shimmer, put a test ball in the skillet; it should sizzle immediately. If not, let the oil heat a little longer. When the oil is ready, carefully place half the balls in the skillet. They should fit in a single layer without crowding.
  5. Fry the balls, turning gently with a spoon so as not to break them, until deeply browned all over, about 3 minutes total. With a slotted spoon, transfer the balls as they are done to a tray lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining balls. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then serve.
    Makes about thirty-two 1-inch (2 1/2-centimeter) meatballs