Eggplant Marinara & Eggplant Meatballs
Minimum 48 oz of your favorite Marinara
Two good sized Eggplants
- 1 tbl
Celtic Sea Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp Thyme
1 tbl Oregano
1 tbl Basil
1 tsp Marjoram
2 -4 cloves Garlic crushed
⅓ Cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
Optional: instead of
salt, half a can of anchovies mashed into a paste.
2 Large Eggplants
Olive Oil (to sprinkle on the eggplant)
Celtic sea salt
5 - 6 Slices Gluten
Free Net Zero Carb Bread
4 oz Parmesan Cheese (grated)
2 tsp Oregano
2 tsp Basil
½ tsp Marjoram
¼ tsp Thyme
2 Cloves Garlic (crushed)
¼ Cup Parsley (chopped)
Optional: ¼ tsp Fennel Powder
I was a lucky little boy; I learned to cook watching my Sicilian
grandmother (below these recipes I have two stories about my
grandmother you'll love). However, my grandmother would turn over in
her grave if she knew this: I no longer make my own marinara sauce.
The time it takes just getting all of the organic ingredients
together isn't worth it to me; not when I can buy organic marinara
sauce just four miles away. So now all my recipes requiring marinara
sauce get a store-bought base.
And of course I have to spice them up. That goes without saying.
This recipe starts with your favorite marinara sauce. Keep in mind
that this recipe starts out being completely vegetarian and gluten
free (you'll have to find a gluten free pasta on your own) but you
do have the option of using anchovy paste (very authentic) instead
of salt, and if you're not using the gluten free bread from the
Julian Bakeries, it's ok to use your own day old bread (to make the
First you are going to "roast" the eggplant in such a way that it's
easy to remove the skin. Set the oven to 450 and bake two eggplant
for 20 minutes, then set aside to cool (so you can peal them).
Next lower the oven to 350, and slice up the other two eggplant (for
the meatballs). You should be aware that two good sized eggplant
will make about 8 meatballs.
Slice up the eggplant and set on a greased cookie sheet, drizzle
some olive oil over them and bake for about 30 minutes.
Next make bread crumbs in your food processor and set aside.
Now that the roasted eggplants are cooled, peal and then chop up the
meat into big chunks. You have two options on how to blend the
chunks into your marinara sauce: Blender or Immersion Blender.
I use an immersion blender. I put the chunks into the marinara sauce
and go to work on them. Now since you've increased the volume of
your marinara sauce, you're going to have to add more spices to the
concoction, and that's where the spices (above, left) come in handy.
And if you're a pro at making marinara sauces, then you go and spice
it the way you like.
Take the browned eggplant slices out and put them into a food
processor and turn em to mush.
Now pay attention here. No two eggplant are alike so when you add
these ingredients you're going to have to guesstimate a bit on
actual amount you add.
Add a good quarter cup to half a cup of bread crumbs (it's up to
you), then some parmesan cheese, the egg, the spices and whip it all
together in your food processor.
A word on fennel: my grandmother's meatballs always
contained fennel seeds (and so did my grandfather's Italian sausage
he made up in the back of his little grocery store). To me, a
meatball isn't a meatball without the fennel. However, the seeds can
be a little off putting, so I use fennel powder. All that would be
needed for this recipe is about a half of teaspoon at the MOST of
fennel seed, maybe a quarter teaspoon. So, in this recipe, I used
just a quarter teaspoon of fennel powder. And yes, the scent as they
were cooking brought me back to my grandmother's kitchen
Grease up a cookie sheet, roll up the balls, and bake at 350 for half
Your sauce should be ready when the meatballs are ready so you'll
want to start your pasta. When the meat balls are ready, drop them
into the sauce for at least five minutes, no more than ten. Serve
with shredded parmesan cheese on top with what's left over of the
chopped parsley. Enjoy.
My Sicilian Grandmother
My grandmother was worshipped by friends and family. Some of my best
memories were, would you believe, the funerals. My grandmother
always took immediate control of the kitchen issuing orders,
tasting, spicing, and preparing. The food at an Italian funeral is,
excuse the pun, to die for.
The thing that sticks out most from my grandmother's funeral was
when I was asked to run to one of the cars and bring some groceries
into the kitchen. When I opened the door to the kitchen, I found a
bunch of old Italian/Sicilian ladies standing around, looking lost.
This was the first funeral for which my grandmother wasn't
orchestrating the kitchen routine. I walked up to my grandmother's
sister and whispered in her ear, "I guess you'd better take control
or nothings gonna get done in here."
When she was alive, her presence at any meal struck terror in the
hearts of the family that had prepared it. I remember when I was
staying with my grandmother at her home in Arizona and my cousin
inviting us over for lasagna. All during the meal everyone would
glance up at my grandmother watching her facial expressions as she
ate, and to see if she was happy. The cook, my cousin, asked, "Is it
ok?" And as per usual, my grandmother would smile and say, "Delicious."
We had a
great time with lots of Chianti and a bit of cheesecake for desert.
Then it was time to leave. Grandma put on her coat and hugged her
grandchildren thanking them for the invitation, telling them how
good all of it was.
At the car, my grandmother got inside, settled
in, the engine started, and then we heard my grandmother say in a
soft voice, "Too much mozzarella."
I loved that gal. So...if you screw up this recipe, you'll have to
deal with her.