An easy and delicious recipe for spicy and aromatic meatballs wrapped in eggplant slices. Make sure you make a lot of them because they disappear too fast!
Eggplants are the queens of the summer table. Or the king, I am not sure, I haven’t checked them. You know that the real summer feast is coming when you see them appearing in the local street markets. At least in Mediterranean countries.
Summer is almost gone and I thought we should celebrate it by giving its queen the attention she deserves. It is true that we can now find eggplants in the supermarkets throughout the whole year, we don’t have to wait for summer.
You have to excuse me, I am still in a summer mood and like to think that the depressing rain and cold we have right now is just a bad dream. A couple of weeks ago I was there.
I am not adding the recipe for the meatballs here as it’s exactly the same as the one I posted here a few months ago. I didn’t fry the meatballs but rather let them cook in the oven. Also, I didn’t use any eggs here. Still delicious!
I use 500 gr (17 oz) of ground veal, which should give you ~ 25 meatballs. You can use beef if you like, especially if you cannot find veal.
The trick is in the herbs, make sure you use fresh spearmint and parsley in the meatballs. A couple of shots of Ouzo wouldn’t hurt neither.
- ~ 25 meatballs.
- 5 large eggplants.
- 3-4 ripe and sweet tomatoes.
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste.
- A small bunch of fresh basil leaves.
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil.
- Salt and ground pepper.
- Slice the eggplants lengthwise in thin (but not too thin) slices. Place them in a colander with plenty of salt. Add a bowl full of water on top to press the eggplants and leave them for ~ 1 hour to release their bitter juices. When finished, wash them well with cold water.
- Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (360 F).
- Place some grease-proof paper on a baking tray (you may need a second tray as you may have 25-30 eggplant slices). Add the eggplants and spread some olive oil on top using a kitchen brush. Bake them for ~ 30 minutes until they start getting brown.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and basil in a blender and create a smooth paste. Empty the paste in the tray you are going to use for the final baking. Add some water and olive oil.
- Use a meatball and wrap it with an eggplant slice. Place it on top of the tomato sauce on the tray ensuring the join is facing downward. Do the same with the rest of the meatballs and eggplants.
- Cook in the oven for ~ 45 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (360 F). If the meat still isn't cooked and the eggplants start getting black, cover the tray with kitchen foil and continue cooking for ~ 15 minutes. You may add some water if the sauce starts looking dry.
- Serve it hot with some salad and bread.
- Bon appetit!