Rachel’s Polpette di Melanzane

Visiting websites for eggplant recipes will end up being an exercise in fertility, as there are so many means to call on to explore the perennial plant’s culinary possibilities. An incredibly delicious food, the nightshade species serves as a wonderfully reliable ally for those looking to enjoy hearty dishes minus meat sources. For such individuals, Rachel Citrino offers a gem with her recipe for Polpette di Melanzane, or Eggplant Meatballs.

The Fishtown inhabitant knows nobody should skimp on protein, so she compensates for the lack of animal flesh by including four eggs in her creation. Those goodies and an equal number of eggplants star in the final product, which will surely intensify or initiate your relationship with eggplant-based dishes. Go ahead. Eggplant Parmesan, baba ghanoush, eggplant rollatini, and ratatouille won’t grow envious. ■


4 shiny, firm eggplants, sliced and roasted

1 loaf of whole grain seeded bread, broken into pieces

4 eggs

1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

13 cloves of garlic, minced

13 fresh basil leaves (or 1/4 cup of oregano in winter)

2 teaspoons of salt

2 tablespoons of black pepper

2 medium onions, chopped

Ingredients and Directions for optional Aioli Sauce:

1 teaspoon of minced garlic

1/4 cup of lemon juice

2 egg yolks (Slow beat the items in olive oil until they reach a mayonnaise-like consistency.)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the eggplants in half, and slice the halves into very thin slices. Lay out on a cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil and bake for 25 to 35 minutes.

Alternately feed in 1/2 cup of the roasted eggplants and some of the bread pieces into a meat grinder, using coarse grind until all is ground together in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, as if you were making meatballs, and mix well, with the eggplants making their own liquid.

Heat about 1-1/2 inches of olive oil in an iron skillet. Roll the eggplant mixture into small balls, and fry in the oil, turning once until they are brown and crispy. Drain, and serve, or store in a plastic container. Heat before serving.

Photo: cucinaitalian18.com