3 eggplants, about 1 1/2 pounds each
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Italian bread crumbs (see link)
3 eggs
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped mint
Agrigento Sauce:
2 cups tomato sauce (see link)
1 cup drained eggplant juice
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint


1. Make the fritters: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the stem end off each eggplant, then cut them in half lengthwise. Score the cut side, being careful not to cut the skin. Thoroughly run the salt over the cut sides of each half. Set the halves cut-side-down on paper towels, and let them drain for about 20 minutes.
2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Dry the eggplant halves and use 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to brush the tops and bottoms of the eggplants and the parchment paper. Bake the eggplants for 45 to 55 minutes, until they are completely cooked and dent easily when poked. Set aside until cook enough to handle.
3. Scoop out the flesh and transfer to a colander set over a bowl. Let drain for 40 minutes, stirring once. Reserve 1 cup of the drained juice for the sauce.
4. Transfer the eggplant to large bowl and stir in the bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, and mint. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors mature.
5. The next day, shape the eggplant mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. You should have 35 to 40. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into a large, nonstick saute pan over high heat, add half the balls, and brown on all side, about 5 minutes. Wipe the pan clean, pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil, and repeat with the remaining balls. Place the fritters in a serving bowl and top with 2 cups of the sauce.
6. Make the sauce: Liquefy the tomato sauce and eggplant juice in a food processor for 2 minutes. Strain the mixture through a wire mesh strainer into a saucepan, stir in the sugar and mint, and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Eggplant looms large in Sicilian cuisine, and it was in the Sicilian town of Agrigento that Nick Stellino first tasted this dish. The delicate fritters must be handled gently; fry them in a pan with sloping sides and turn them by using a wooden spoon to push them up the pan side and over into the hot oil.

Eggplant Fritters with Agrigento Sauce
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