Apr 19, 2010

Eggplant vegetarian "meatballs" recipe

Eggplant vegetarian "meatballs"

Have I mentioned my partiality towards meatballs? Well, here's one of my favorite vegetarian meatball recipes. Borrowed from the restaurant menu of Buca di Bacco in Positano, with kind permission of the entire kitchen staff, an √©lite group of gourmet chefs to which, years ago for a brief period, I had the honor of belonging. 

Ingredients for 4 servings
3 large eggplants
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 tablespoon pecorino Romano, grated
1 sprig fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
More breadcrumbs for dredging
Olive oil for frying

Peel the eggplant and dice. Place in a colander, sprinkle with salt and let sit for 1 hour. This procedure purges the eggplant's potential bitterness.

Rinse well and blanche the eggplant in a large pot of salted water.

Strain the eggplant quite al dente, then press between two plates to remove excess liquid. Chop finely and combine with the egg yolks, breadcrumbs, grated Pecorino, basil and pepper, mixing well with your hands.

Roll the mixture into 2-inch fat patties, dredge in breadcrumbs and drop in boiling hot oil and fry until golden. The amounts indicated should yield about 12 patties, more or less.

Deposit shortly on blotting paper or kitchen towel before wolfing down.

The white wine must be chilled!
Eggplant vegetarian "meatballs"


  1. Nice! Although I would be tempted to replace the frying step by a steaming one (without the crumbs) then adding the cooked and therefore more solid polpette to a sauce.

  2. I can't wait to try these.

    I had a very good luck at that restaurant. I feel like going to Positano right now.

  3. Ciao friends!
    Spacedlaw~ interesting!
    Arlene~ Me too, let's go!

  4. Ooooo, I am so excited about these! We both love eggplant and are always looking for new recipes for how to use them. I must try these!! Thank you! love, SIlke

  5. Oooh! This is something that I must try to make. Polpetta di melanzane! Just like the ones we bought from pizza al taglio :-D

  6. These are terrific and I remember eating something like them in Sicily.

  7. mmm...i need my meat lola, but these, i just might give a try. sounds delicious...

  8. This sounds delicious. I wonder if a picky thirteen-year-old would like them? I think I must try.

  9. As an antidote to this being vegetarian, do you serve this with a side of smoked ribs?


  10. Che buone! conosco la Buca di Bacco di Positano: ho mangiato i migliori spaghetti a vongole di sempre!

  11. Thank you all for your comments!

    Silke~ I remember you saying about how you and Daniel were living on baba ghanoush... this is better!
    Rinaz~ You must make them, and then report back!
    CCLinda~ They are indeed addictive...
    Saretta~ Damn, there's cheese and bread in them...
    Brian~ Even a carnivore like me succumbed.
    Sallymandy~ If she doesn't eat them, you can always polish off her plate.
    Louis~ Hee hee, I was actually thinking along the lines of a Fiorentina steak (1 Kg)
    Enrico~ La Buca è per me come la mamma.

  12. I love that eggplants are involved here. ;-)


  13. Yummy!
    Lola, I will try these for my veggie daughter, she'll love them. But I'll eat them too- I love pecorino.
    Your no-bake raspberry tart is still going down a treat here, and now I've bought two raspberry bushes in your honour!

  14. Ciao Eleonora!
    I have an award for you. Please stop by my blog to pick it up!


  15. I'm making these for sure-thank you for the recipe.

  16. Mmmm, these look good Eleanora. I would like to try them.

  17. Sounds divinely delicious... am definitely going to show this one to la Grenouille, I'm betting she is going to want to try this recipe like, immediately...

    Can't wait... !

    Hope all is well with you Lola, work has been crazy lately, I haven't been out and about nearly as much as I'd like... but it is always a pleasure to drop in here, and I always come away hungry...

  18. I have never cooked eggplant. Interesting way to start I think.

  19. These sound great. Thanks Lola! When does your cookbook appear? When will you open a restaurant? I am sending you blessings, as always!

  20. I'm happy you enjoyed this recipe!

    Paz~ I'm a huge eggplant person too.
    Mimi~ I am so flattered! Hugs to you and daughter.
    Liana~ Thank you, I will swing by asap!
    Janie~ Report back with the outcome!
    Joe~ Please do, they are divine!
    Owen~ Thank you my friend. Busy? Tell me about it!!
    LoriE~ This is definitely the way to start. Hugs
    Geli~ I'm visualizing the restaurant on the beach and imagining the book signing event, but it's all in my dreams still!


  21. Yummy! lola could these be baked? i think i will try!

  22. Those sound truly scrumptious. I'm a big fan of eggplant, to begin with, and will have to try this one.

  23. This is too scrumptious - as soon as the eggplants are in season (it's coming, it's coming), I'm in. I think I'll do some fried and some baked. (All right, I know the fried ones will taste better).

  24. i love your blog, lola. i am going to start a notebook with copies of your recipes.

    between you and allegra, i feel i am in the arms of the masters.


  25. This looks delicious! Also love your header... Wish I could make pesto like that.

  26. i'm vegetarian!
    this is one of my favourite dish! :)

  27. Ah! Just what I have been salivating over! Great recipe.

  28. These really do look delicious. I found your blog by chance - Louis sent me :-). I had intended only to say hello but was lured by prior posts into staying far longer than I planned. I really like your blog and will be back often to see what has been happening. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  29. Sorry for getting back to you this late!

    Lori~ I KNEW you'd enjoy this! Bake at high temp and drizzle with olive oil...
    Jim~ Please let me know if the recipe works for you guys
    Claudia~ You KNOW the fried ones will be better.
    KJ~ I am so flattered!
    Rosaria~ Thank you, Maestra!
    Mary~ Welcome to my kirchen. Please come as often as you wish, there's always something good to nibble on. And the company's dreamy!

    Ciao friends

  30. I have never tried making eggplant like this before and it looks wonderful. I usually don't salt my eggplants as the varieties I have here are not bitter.

  31. wow!! This looks so delicious, I would like to try them !!!
    yummm..can't wait !!! :D lol

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