Sometimes you just crave those comfort foods and today is one of those days. This is one of my favorites that my sister Lucia created for one of her sons who cannot eat gluten. They are amazing any which way you decided to eat them - check out the Notes section below.
Here is the recipe. Enjoy!
4 medium sized eggplants (about 2 1/2-3 pounds), peeled and cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups gluten-free breadcrumbs
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated (can substitute with Parmigiano Reggiano or use both)
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Place peeled and cut eggplant into a large bowl. Add salt and extra virgin olive oil and mix well. Place the eggplant on one of the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until eggplant is soft.
Place the cooked eggplant into a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the gluten-free breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, cheese, eggs, salt and pepper to taste and work the mixture with your hands to combine all ingredients well.
Shape eggplant into approximately 1 ½” balls using your hands and continually wetting your hands with water so that they don’t stick, making it easier to shape the eggplant mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Cover with plastic wrap once all of the eggplant mixture is used and place in the refrigerator for an hour before baking for frying them.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place baking sheet on middle rack and bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
Garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley.
They can be prepared the day before. Keep balls covered and refrigerated to be used the next day. Once cooked and cooled, they can be stored in an air-tight container and in your freezer for one month.
You can also add cooked eggplant balls to a marinara sauce (garlic, oil, and tomato sauce) and cook in the sauce for about 20 minutes.