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Eggplant Meat-less Balls

  • 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Easy
  • Appetizers
This version of traditional meatballs, made with eggplant rather than meat, is a typical Italian appetizer and is quite easy to prepare.

Ingredients: Per 6 servings

  • 1 lb eggplant
  • 1 egg
  • breadcrumbs
  • parsley
  • garlic
  • basil
  • 1 ¾ oz Pecorino cheese
  • frying oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

Clean and wash the eggplants, cut them in half, put into a pot and cover with water.
Bring to the boil and leave to cook for about 45 minutes, drain, and leave to cool.

Prepare separately the grated bread crumbs with chopped garlic, parsley and basil, the grated cheese and the salt.

Squeeze out the eggplants and mash them with the bread crumbs and the whole egg, amalgamating everything well so as to obtain a homogeneous mixture.

With this mixture, prepare some elongated, fairly flat pellets, and fry them in the oil.

These may be served hot or cold and, if desired, also covered with a spicy tomato sauce as a side dish.

Food History

This recipe is a vegetarian version of the classic Italian meatball.
Legend says that meatballs were created in the court of Genghis Kahn, by an Italian doctor fleeing Italy because he had be persecuted for having married a Jewish woman.
The Mongol troops had major difficulties finding supplies and were forced to march  for long periods of time in very hot areas. The soldiers could not carry food because it would inevitably go bad.
The resourceful Italian doctor, however, solved this problem by giving each soldier a ration of chopped, salted meat that could be stored for a long time. It seems as though the rations were so common among the Mongolian troops that when their allies, the Crusaders, were forced into exile in Damietta, Egypt, the Mongols sent them little packages of the dried meat by tying them to the legs of messenger pigeons – giving life to real “flying meatballs.”

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