I like eggplant in any shape — fried, sautéed or in a casserole.; I like to experiment; so one time I had an eggplant that I needed to use before it spoiled and I made meatballs.
Drain the eggplant very well and let it cool before you add the rest of ingredients; otherwise the heat will cook the egg and Parmesan cheese prematurely.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 4 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons virgin olive oil
- 2½ teaspoons onion, finely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
- Monterey jack cheese, thinly sliced
- Parsley, finely chopped
Grill eggplant over a burner on the stove until soft. Remove skin and chop. Boil eggplant with 1 cup of water for 4 minutes. Drain very well and mash. Cool. Mix eggplant with ground beef, onion, garlic, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and eggs. Form the eggplant/meat mixture into golf ball-sized balls and place in a large shallow pan about an inch apart. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes and drain off any fat.
For the sauce, saute the onions and garlic in oil for 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce, parsley and oregano and simmer until thick, about 5 to 10 minutes.
To assemble the dish, spread half of the sauce into a clean baking pan; put the meatballs on top of the sauce. Pour remaining sauce over the meatballs. Place a 2-inch-square piece of cheese on top of each meatball and sprinkle with a little chopped parsley. Bake until cheese is melted.
Serves 8 to 10 as an appetizer.
Recipe by Said Mostafa, The Record, Stockton, California