Let's be honest: Summer in Sicily without aubergine, eggplant or, melanzana, as we call it in Italy, is not a proper Summer. I would say without hesitation that they are the queen of the summer table in Sicily.
At the top of my head I can think at least six or seven different dishes that we prepare with this lovely and incredibly versatile vegetable in this season; (caponata, parmigiana, cotolette di melanzane, involtini, pasta alla norma, ecc...)
This recipe, the polpette, are fritters made of a mix of boiled aubergines/eggplants, breadcrumb, grated local cheese and egg, and we can eat them in two different ways: either plain fried in e.v. olive oil or with tomato sauce (pic on the left).
The preparation is exactly the same until the final step. Either they are fried and served straight away, or fried and covered in tomato sauce, they are both delicious and unique in taste.
INGREDIENTS AND PREPARATION FOR 4 PEOPLE
- 2 big aubergines/eggpants
(or 3 medium ones)
- 100 gr grated local caciocavallo cheese (or pecorino or any other tasty cheese you like)
- 1 egg + 4 tablespoons of breadrumb
- salt & pepper
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 7-8 leaves of fresh mint thinly chopped
* NOTE: Some people love to add also a handful of raisins and pine nuts.
First thing first: the aubergines/eggplants need to be boiled. Put a pot of water on a medium heat, and while the water is warming up rinse and cut the aubergine into pieces. Once the water starts to boil, put salt and drop the pieces of the veg until they become soft and tender.
Using a pasta colander, leave the veggies to drain all the exceeding water and cool down for at least half an hour. Once they are cold and the water has been completely drained, place them in a large bowl and add all the other ingredients at the same time: breadcrumb, egg, cheese, nutmeg, chopped fresh mint, salt and black pepper.
On a high heat place a frying pan with some extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot take a full spoon of the mix (or use two spoons to make a flat kennel) and start frying them until they are golden brown.
Turn them on the other side and once they are ready, place them on a kitchen paper to absorb the exceeding oil, then serve them on a plate while they are still hot.
The idea behind is that you get the crunchy and tasty fritters that are still soft inside. They can be eaten like finger food or as a starter or side dish. In any case, trust me, they will disappear in a flash!
*Also the good thing about this recipe is that you can make your heathier version simply by avoiding to fry them, and just roast them on a very hot grill pan.