Recipe #1 in my new vegitalian series
The word polpetta (plural polpette) is usually translated into English as ‘meatball’. This is a really bad translation because meat is only one of many ingredients Italians use to make polpette. In Rome, for example, there is a restaurant called Polpetta which serves them made from a variety of ingredients, many of them vegetarian. In fact their menu is topped by the hashtag #tuttoèpolpettabile (#youcanmakepolpettefromanything).
This recipe for aubergine (eggplant) polpette is based on a traditional one from Puglia, the far south-eastern peninsula of Italy and one of my favourite regions both for food, climate, and architecture. The traditional recipe features parmigiano reggiano cheese which is not, strictly speaking, vegetarian but which can be substituted with any hard, vegetarian cheese. In Italy you can now buy artisanal parmigiano-style cheese made with non-animal rennet.
The trick with these polpette is to fry them as gently as possible. In this way, they will absorb very little oil and will have a moist not greasy consistency. You can serve them on their own, as nibbles, with dips, or heated up in the oven in a tomato sauce, which is the traditional way of serving them.
3 aubergines / eggplants 30 grams (1 ounce) parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated (or vegetarian equivalent) 20 capers 1 large egg 350 grams (12 ounces) breadcrumbs salt pepper flour oil for frying
3 aubergines / eggplants
30 grams (1 ounce) parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated (or vegetarian equivalent)
1 large egg
350 grams (12 ounces) breadcrumbs
oil for frying