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Polpetti di Melanzane
Sicilian Eggplant Patties

3 large eggplants
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 cup grated parmigiano cheese
12 large basil leaves chopped fine
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 to 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs as needed
1 tablespoon minced garlic (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
Olive oil for frying

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Peel the eggplant and cut into quarters and place in the boiling
water to cook for about ten minutes, or until tender. Remove the
eggplant from the water as the pieces become tender and put them
in a colander over a mixing bowl or in the sink. Allow the eggplant
to cool and drain--at least 20 minutes, then press the excess water
from the eggplant. Mash half the eggplant in a large mixing bowl,
while dicing the remainder into small pieces. The outside of the
cooked eggplant will remain firm, so it is recommended to separate
these outer pieces and use them for the dicing process. Add the
diced eggplant to the mashed, then gradually adding the eggs and
mix until well combined. Next add the parmigiano cheese , basil
leaves, black pepper and nutmeg. Gradually add the breadcrumbs,
about = cup, combining together until the mixture can be easily
handled and formed into patties. If the mixture is too wet, simply
add small amounts of breadcrumbs to firm.

Form the eggplant mixture into flat, oval patties about half-inch
thick by about 3 inches in length. Dredge in the remaining breadcrumbs.
Heat at least 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauti pan over medium
flame and when hot enough to fry the patties (they should lightly
sizzle), add as many as will comfortably fit into the pan. Allow
the patties to turn golden brown and turn over, adding more oil as
needed. The patties will absorb the olive oil, so keep adding more
as you go along and put them on a plate covered in paper towels to
drain any excess oil as you remove them from the pan. Place on a
serving dish with lemon wedges if desired.

Variation: Add minced garlic and dried oregano to the final mixture
before forming into patties.


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