I made these tasty little patties for our Eurovision party The recipe is from a new cookbook that Alberto bought me for my birthday, called Cicchetti, by Lindy Wildsmith and Valentina Harris, which is, essentially, ‘Venetian Tapas’. The recipes look delicious and, as they are, mostly, dishes to share, a party was a good place to try out a couple of them. This recipe and the next both come from this book.
This recipe was nice, but I felt that I should have added a little more cumin and dried chilli than the recipe suggested, just for a little extra kick. I definitely over cooked a few of them as they were a darker brown, and rather crispier, than they should’ve been. I did leave making them until rather late in the day though so it was all a bit of a rush. The aubergine mixture is a little sloppy too, so it can be tricky to keep it all together in a ball whilst dipping it in the egg, flour and breadcrumbs. Perhaps refrigerating them for an hour or so before frying them would help – hopefully the next time I make them I’ll have the time.
According to the recipe tiny, freshly fried polpettine, with a variety of different fillings and flavours, are ‘the trademark of many a Venentian bàcaro.’ They’re certainly tasty and worth making again.
Makes 30 (allegedly, although I only got about 20 out of the mixture – maybe my teaspoons were a bit generous!)
For the patties:
500g of aubergine
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
40g of fresh breadcrumbs
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
½ an egg
½ a teaspoon of cumin or chilli flakes (I added both cumin and chilli and wish I’d added more of each)
Salt and black pepper
1-2 eggs, beaten with a little water
75g of flour
50g of fresh breadcrumbs
1 litre of sunflower oil
Lemon wedges to serve
Preheat the oven to 170.
Put the aubergines on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and bake until squishy to the touch – about 20-30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Once cool peel them and squeeze out any excess moisture, then chop into small pieces. (but not to mush)
Transfer to a bowl and add the garlic, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, breadcrumbs, spices, salt and pepper and egg.
Mix well and then roll teaspoons of the mixture into small balls. You can, at this point, refrigerate them until required – on reflection I should’ve done that as it may have made dipping them a bit easier.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
Dip the balls in the egg mixture, then the flour, then the egg again and then finally the breadcrumbs.
Once the oil is hot enough, gently drop a few balls into the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan – I found it best to cook 5 or so at a time – and cook until golden.
Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Best served warm, although they are nice cold as well, with lemon wedges.