1 large eggplant, about 500 grams
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
¼ cup finely chopped herbs (I used a mix of parsley and mint)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 egg, beaten
sea salt and ground pepper
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
olive oil for frying
Peel the eggplant and dice into 1cm cubes.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan and add the onion and garlic with a good pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 8 minutes or until very soft. Add the remaining oil, the eggplant, cumin and chilli, season and turn to coat in the onion. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often or until the eggplant is very tender and can be easily crushed with a spoon.
Cool, then stir in the herbs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and enough of the egg to just bind the mixture together. Taste and season if needed.
To cook: Scoop out walnut-sized balls of the mixture then roll in the panko crumbs. The mixture is soft so don’t worry about making perfect looking balls!
Heat a little oil in a sauté pan and cook the polpettine until golden on all sides. Drain on kitchen towels.
To serve: Transfer to a serving plate and serve warm topped with extra grated Parmesan if desired.
Serve with a purchased tomato and olive chutney or garlic aioli and lemon wedges if desired. Makes about 16
Pantry Note: Panko crumbs are flakey Japanese dried breadcrumbs that create a deliciously crunchy crust. Readily available from supermarkets.