Eggplant, Zucchini and Bread Crumb Meatballs
Polpettine di Mellanzane, Zucchine e Pan Grattato
1 large eggplant
Peel the eggplant and slice it vertically. Each slice should be approximately 1/2 inch thick. Place the eggplant in a strainer, salting each slice on both sides. Let drain for 1 hour. Once it has drained, rinse it and cut each slice into 1/2 inch cubes.
1 large zucchini
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 cups bread crumbs, coarse
1 large tomato
1 cup parsley, italian and chopped
3 large eggs
2 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons capers - rinsed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
If using salted capers, place them into a container of warm water and let soak for at least 20 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop the capers. Capers in vinegar should be rinsed prior to using.
Peel the zucchini and cut it in the same way as the eggplant. If the squash is large and older, salt it and let it drain. Otherwise cut it into 1/2 inch cubes. Chop the tomato into small pieces, and set aside. Peel and chop the onion. Put the onion, eggplant, squash and olive oil into a food processor. Process into small pieces, taking care not to puree the vegetables. Add the garlic, parsley, salt and red and black pepper. Process for 5 seconds. Add a Cup of water and the eggs. Process very briefly to incorporate the water and eggs. Pour the mixture into a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Add the tomatoes, capers and the bread crumbs.
Mix all of the ingredients until fully integrated. Set aside for 10 minutes. If after this time the mixture is too loose to form balls, add 1/2 cup of bread crumbs. If the mixture is too firm, add equal parts water and olive oil until the correct consistency is reached..
Preparing and Baking the Balls
Hand form the balls. They can be any size. We make them large - about 2 inches in diameter, but they can be an inch or so. Flatten them a bit prior to placing them on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on each side in a 375° oven. Serve with a Mayonnaise-Mustard-Caper sauce or simply drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.
These balls can be served cold. They are good sliced, and made into sandwiches with lettuce, tomato and dressing.
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