These patties, or ‘polpette’ as they are called in Italian are quite simple to make and create a bit of interest taste-wise on account of ingredients that ‘pop’: cumin, spring onion and fresh mint. They’re dead easy to make and are crowd pleasers because you can eat them as a finger food or serve them as a part of a main course. I made them for the first time just over a year ago, on a whim, and have kept making them since, tweaking them this way and that. There is no real recipe, if you see what I mean. Just a bunch of ingredients thrown together. There are countless recipes for aubergine/eggplant patties in Southern Italy and this one would not differ too much save for one ingredient: cumin. I’ve never come across an Italian recipe calling for cumin.
Try them, you might like them.
Aubergines/eggplant, plastic bread, spring onion or ordinary onion, parsely if you don’t have mint, tomato paste, cumin, sweet paprika, salt, 1 egg, breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon grated parmigiano
This is one aubergine, sliced, and cooked in the oven until it dried out a little. About half an hour. Wait for the slices to cool before proceeding.
Some slices of bread (this is what I call plastic bread).
Break up the bread.
Add the parsely. And whizz the parsely too.
Add some cumin: a couple of teaspoons say …
Add 1 peeled onion, cut into quarters. Spring onions are better, but I didn’t have any that day.
This is a tube of tomato paste, tomato concentrate. My fridge is never without one because this tomato can be added to so many recipes. Just a squidge here and there.
Okay so here is a view from the top: I processed the bread and then the parsely. After I added an onion, some cumin, a squidge of the tomato paste, a good pinch of salt and, last, the bright orange you see on the right, some sweet paprika.
Remember these? Time to add them.
The end result was somewhat sticky.
I transferred this mix to a bowl, and added Italian breadcrumbs, which are very dry, a tablespoon of freshly grated parmigiano, and 1 egg. I used a spoon to bring the mix together, adding more and more breadcrumbs until I reached the consistency I was after.
A little on the laborious side but not rocket science, it was now time to shape the mix into patties . I prevailed upon my husband to do this while he was watching some news on the TV. If he can do this, anyone can. (Not that I was idly lounging about, I hasten to add, I was otherwise occupied in the kitchen and getting our dinner ready. The patties were just an ‘extra’.)
I left the patties in the fridge overnight. I fried them in ordinary groundnut oil, the next day, and served them with some tahini sauce.
I had been asked over to a potluck dinner at a friend’s house and all was well.
That’s some tahini sauce in the middle.
I suppose you could also serve them with ketchup, why not? A squeeze of lemon? Leave the egg and cheese out, and these can be served as a vegan dish too.
To me … these polpette speak of summer and warmth and longer days.