Parmesan-Packed Eggplant Meatballs
Here the recipe has been dolled up with Parmesan and herbs and shaped into tender “meatballs.” Like many of the recipes created on the farm, this one was perfected over time. After several tries, we decided the best way to cook these was to shape them and pop them in the oven where they firm up. They’re good on their own, served with a dipping sauce (try a combo of yogurt and herbs), or topped with your favorite tomato sauce and served over pasta.
• 1-1/2 pounds firm small eggplants, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
• 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
• 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
• 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
• 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 large eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a small baking pan, toss the eggplant and garlic with the oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. (Leave the oven on and increase the temperature to 375 degrees.) When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, squeeze to get rid of excess liquid.
3. In a food processor, pulse the parsley and basil until coarsely chopped. Add the eggplant, garlic, panko, Parmesan, eggs, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pulse to combine (it will still be a little chunky).
4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. With a small ice cream scoop (1/4 cup), scoop the mixture into 12 meatballs.
5. With dampened hands, round the meatballs out and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until firm.