When it comes to father’s day recipes I have two choices: a very decorative recipe ( i.e. a tie shaped cookie) or a recipe that a special particular dad (my husband) loves. This year I decided to share with you one of my husband’s favorite recipes: eggplant balls with a mozzarella heart dipped in fresh tomato sauce. Everything started when I was trying to find an eggplant recipe that my little (picky) Luca could like and I ended up satisfying both my little one and my big one 🙂
What really got my husband was the mozzarella heart (the more, the better) and the incredibly fresh tomato sauce. And I really think that my little Luca was totally driven by the generous amount of Parmesan cheese in the balls 🙂
Family satisfied = recipe worth to share. Let’s start.
What you will need:
Take two large beautiful eggplants and wash them. Slice each eggplant in thick 1 inch slices
Place the slices on a parchment paper on a baking sheet, one next to the other. Adjust with some salt and drizzle some extra virgin oil of olive.
Place in the upper part of the oven in broil mode (400 F.) for 3/4 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and flip the eggplant slices on the other side. Adjust with some salt and extra virgin oil of olive. Place them back in the oven (broil, upper part of the oven) for 3/4 minutes. Remove from the oven the tray and give a last flip to the eggplants, this time without adding any salt or oil.
After a total of 9/12 minutes you will obtain nice, softened and broiled eggplant slices. Place the eggplants in a blender altogether with the basil, and blend everything in order to obtain a brown purple smooth cream.
Move the eggplant cream in a medium size bowl and add the eggs, the parmesan cheese and the breadcrumbs. Mix
Let’s prepare our balls. You will need three dishes or large bowls: one will contain the flour, one the breadcrumbs and the last one the eggs (beaten).
Place one tablespoon of eggplant mix in your hands, divide it in two parts and try to give them a circular shape. Place a cube of mozzarella cheese in the center of one circle and cover it with the second circle forming a ball. Roll the ball in your hands for few seconds in order to give it a almost regular shape (if they are not perfect it’s fine!!!).
Roll the eggplant ball in the flour mix first, than in the eggs mix (I used a fork in order not to have sticky hands) and in the breadcrumbs at the end. This three layers will create a nice crust around the ball once baked. Place the ball on a parchment paper on a baking sheet and keep having fun forming other eggplant balls. If you have older kids, that’s the time to have fun together: they can be in charge of a single dipping/rolling phase!!
Drizzle the eggplant balls with some extra virgin oil of olive and place them in the oven to bake at 400F. for 25 minutes. The final 5 minutes set the oven in broil mode to get a nice golden crust on top of the balls.
Meanwhile you have enough time to prepare a fresh tomatoes sauce that will be a fresh and seasonal addition to our recipe.
You will just need a bunch of ripe seasonal deeply red tomatoes. If you buy the Japanese variety not only they are tremendously sweet but with a lot of pulp and almost no seeds. Peel the tomatoes easily by making an X incision on top and letting them relax for 2 minutes in boiling water.
Sometimes, when the tomatoes are very ripe you do not even need to do that. The peel comes out easily with the help of a knife. Chop the tomatoes and remove all the extra water and the seeds. You want to keep only the pulp.
If you have time you can also place them in a coriander and let the extra water drain.
Place the tomato pulp in a blender, add few leaves of basil, a pinch of salt and some extra virgin oil of oil. Blend everything in order to obtain a nice and smooth red cream.
By the time your tomato sauce is ready the eggplant balls should be done too. Remove them from the oven and let them cool down for 5 minutes.
Enjoy the eggplant balls dipping them in the fresh tomato sauce…they are good! ciao!