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I’m very fond of fritters – I’ve found that they make great breakfast food as leftovers. :) (See Black Bean Fritters.) So I was pretty excited to come upon this recipe from Jimmy Bradley in the August 2007 Bon Appétit. Fritters made from eggplant (yum!) that come with a creamy cheese center (double yum!)… what more could I ask for? Prep time includes draining the eggplant.
- 2 large globe eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons salt, divided
- olive oil (for brushing and frying)
- 2 large eggs, divided
- 3⁄4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1⁄4 cups plain breadcrumbs, divided
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1⁄4 teaspoon smoked spanish paprika
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut the eggplants crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and place them on layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and let stand 30 minutes.
- Get two large baking sheets and brush them with oil. Pat the eggplant slices dry (they should have given off a lot of water from the salting) and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheets. Brush them lightly with olive oil and bake in the 350 degree F oven until the slices are tender and dry, about 1 hour.
- Let the slices cool slightly, then chop them coarsely and set aside.
- In a bowl whisk together 1 egg, the grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir in the chopped eggplant. The resulting mixture will be soft.
- Get a plate and spread 1 cup of the breadcrumbs on it. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining egg and the flour.
- Take the eggplant mixture and shape spoonfuls of it into 1 1/4-inch balls. Press a piece of the cubed mozzarella into the center of each ball, making sure the cheese is covered well.
- Individually dip the eggplant balls into the egg batter and then roll them in the breadcrumbs to coat.
- In a large deep pan or deep fryer, heat the oil to medium high temperature (350 degrees F ). (If using a pan, make sure the oil is about a depth of 1/4 inch.) Sauté the balls in batches, turning often, each batch taking about 4 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon remove the cooked fritters and drain them well on paper towels. Keep the batches warm until you’ve made them all.
- Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve immediately. Goes well with an entrée salad, or as appetizers.
- Makes about 20 fritters.
- *Note: smoked mozzarella is also called “mozzarella affumicata,” and is available at some specialty foods stores and at cheese shops. I’ve found it easily available at Trader Joe’s. If you can’t find the smoked variety, feel free to use regular mozzarella.