Bite-sized and fun for parties, or a nice break from the traditional eggplant parm.
2 large eggplants (2 lbs)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
Olive oil (for brushing and frying)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cups plain dry breadcrumbs, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 20 cubes)
marinara sauce for dipping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut eggplants crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place on layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes.
Spray 2 baking sheets with oil. Pat eggplant dry; arrange in single layer on prepared sheets. Brush lightly with oil. Bake until eggplant is tender and dry, about 1 hour. Cool slightly; chop coarsely.
Whisk 1 egg, grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Stir in chopped eggplant (mixture will be soft).
Spread 1 cup breadcrumbs on plate. Whisk 1 egg and flour in another bowl. Press and shape eggplant mixture into 1 1/4 -inch-diameter balls. Press 1 piece smoked mozzarella into center of each ball, making sure eggplant mixture covers cheese. Dip balls, 1 at a time, into egg batter; roll in breadcrumbs to coat.
Pour enough oil into large skillet to reach depth of 1/4 inch; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add balls to skillet; saute until browned, turning often, about 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
Compliments of Bon Appetit