10.14.2010

What Would Happen if an Eggplant and a Meatball Had a Baby?

Eggplant Meatball Sub
Sweet deliciousness, that's what would happen!  I came across this little creation from fellow food blogger friend, Kerry, from Kerry's Cooking Chronicles, a while back and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.  It's genius really.  Eggplants dressed up as meatballs?! Can you say yum?  I've been on a big eggplant kick lately and the idea of transforming those giant pear shaped vegetables into a familiar and comforting Italian staple was just too hard to pass up.  While these had been on "my list" of things to try, I decided to give them a go on a whim.  I was wandering around the grocery store aimlessly and growing increasingly hungry when I spotted some shiny eggplants, just laying there next to the bin of green beans and I just knew, today would be the day.
Simmering down the eggplants
With this being unprocessed month and all, I wanted to do everything as natural as possible.  It took me a while, but I was able to track down a freshly made and preservative free baguette to make breadcrumbs.  Halfway through the dancing around through the store, (yes dancing.  What can I say? Meatballs make me happy?) I stopped short and realized that once created, I had no game plan for these little guys.  Immediately I thought about spaghetti.  I pictured these little guys rolling around in a mountain of noodles and a river of marinara sauce.  Then I scratched that.  It sounded good, but I wanted something different. Craving something sandwichy and realizing I already had a nice little all natural baguette in my cart, I thought that a great way use up my "meatballs" was via sandwich.  I envisioned the end result to be sort of like what would happen if an eggplant parm and a meatball sub had a baby.  Ohhhh yeahhh...



Fast forward through making breadcrumbs, simmering down chunks of eggplants, mixing it all and shaping it into balls, baking and placing on a sub roll with soft mozzarella cheese just oozing out the sides and I was left with pure eggplant magic.  It was messy magic (keep lots of napkins with you!) but straight up deliciousness and a great way to look at something completely differently.  Give 'em a shot.  You'll like 'em.

Eggplant Meatballs before the oven
Eggplant Meatballs after the oven: golden brown and ready to be sauced
Mmmm...


Eggplant "Meatballs"
- Makes about 10 medium-sized meatballs

- 1 eggplant, peeled and chopped into cubes
- 1 baguette, cut in half
- 5-6 button mushrooms, finely chopped
- A small pat of butter for frying the mushrooms
- A couple handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- A handful of fresh basil, shredded
- Salt and pepper
- Fennel seeds (optional)
- Flax seeds (optional)
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 400.  Start by turning the bread into fine breadcrumbs by using a food processor or a blender.  Make sure that the breadcrumbs are as fine as they can be.  Place them in a pan and lightly toast them, just until they have a little crunch to them.  Set them aside.

Meanwhile, brown the mushrooms in a little butter and set aside,  Next, place the eggplant cubes into a pot and add some salt.  Cover and simmer the eggplant until it become very tender and mushy.  Run the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or use paper towels to remove any excess water.  Add the eggplant mixture to a bowl and toss in breadcrumbs, mushrooms, basil, fennel and flax seeds.  Mix thoroughly.  Add some salt and pepper to taste, then add the egg and combine.  Shape the eggplant mixture into little balls with your hands.  Place on a greased pan and bake until they start to brown.  Serve immediately or keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for a few days or freeze.

28 comments:

Sarah @ Semi-Sweet said...

Oh.my.goodness. that looks good . . . and I literally *just* finished dinner! Too bad I'm the only one in the house who'll eat eggplant - please, someone, make this and enjoy it for me!

Olga @ MangoTomato said...

love eggplant. this is an awesome idea. and now I'm incredibly hungry!

theblogisthenewblack said...

Creative idea- these looks so good!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

This is really creative!

KC said...

So glad you made these and liked them....and your additions sound great!

Megan said...

Yum!! Those look awesome. I LOVE eggplant.

Daisy said...

i just ate a bowl of bow tie pasta (boringgg, plain, blah) however, filling. And now I want one of these really badly!

Jen said...

This looks tasty. I always say "it's like X and Y had a baby" about anything.

Alicia said...

This looks super!! That picture of the sandwich with the melty cheese is making me drooooooool....YUM. so creative.

Shannon said...

I LOVE this idea. I have never thought about doing such a thing with eggplant!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Oh wow what an awesome recipe! I love eggplant (and meatballs hehe). That sandwich looks so good!

The Hungry Crafter said...

Oh yum, can't wait to try these! I never know what to do with all the eggplant in my farm share!

themusingbouche said...

brilliant! I have to try this.

Kimmy Bingham said...

I missed this the other day! I have some eggplant left from the garden. So trying this!

Lindsey Frances said...

These have the wheels of my turning. What a neat idea. I'd love to make this soon. I love eggplant but always find myself constrained to the same recipes. This is such a nice twist.

Miss Yunks said...

I love this idea!! Definitely a dish to make and share!

Lizzy said...

I made this!!Thanks for the inspiration- check it out!!!

healthyexposures said...

These look wonderful! They've made it to my list ;) I've seen a couple burger recipes with eggplant, but always thought it an odd combo. You've convinced me otherwise!

Joanne said...

Italian dishes need to get frisky more often because this fusion product sounds fantastic in every way!

valerienicole said...

I made these tonight and put them in sandwich form too! They tasted great, but I don't think I cooked them quite long enough. About how long do your meatballs take in the oven?

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Valerienicole, mine did take a while. Maybe 30 minutes? There's a lot of moisture in eggplant and it's important to get them as dry as possible before you mix them with everything else. Glad you opted for sandwich for too...isn't that the best? :)

Sasha said...

Wow. What a fabulous idea, especially for vegetarians.

Ronda said...

I would love to try these however I am allergic to mushrooms. Is there something I can substitute for those? Thanks so much!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Hi Ronda, no worries! You could just leave them out entirely, I'd just add a little more eggplant to supplement! Enjoy :)

akgirlatheart said...

Has anyone tried them with oatmeal instead of bread crumbs?

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

I haven't but I'm sure if you grind them up into "breadcrumbs" it would work just fine. If you try, please report back!

Anonymous said...

The bread crumb instruction portion of the recipe is confusing?? I'm assuming the half bagette is used for making the bread crumbs? What is the quantity you end up with, i.e., 1 Cup, etc.??? Are you baking the bagette before grinding them into crumbs? I see you are toasting afterwards. Recipe sounds good. Please clarify...

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

With the breadcrumbs, I toasted them after grinding, but you can certainly toast before, chef's choice, both will yield same results. Also, don't get caught up on the measurement of the breadcrumbs, instead add enough so that you can shape the balls. It will probably be close to a cup - hope that helps to clarify a bit

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