Eggplant, buffalo mozzarella & mint fritters
I have just finished compiling a list of tips and tricks; suggestions which I hope will make your next dinner party all the more successful. At the risk of sounding like know-it-all when it comes to this subject, I would like to share a series of unfortunate events all of which took place whilst I hosted my own dinner parties. These moments have lodged themselves firmly in my memory for the wrong reason, as you are about to learn.
Fresh out of chef’s school and full of gusto I convinced my parents to invite their esteemed American guests to our home for a dinner party instead of taking them out. The entrée of asparagus, poached egg, prosciutto and hollandaise went off with me knocking the saucepan of boiling water off the element, scolding my feet in front of the guests and having to stand in a cold shower for 10 minutes. The passionfruit granita was more like passionfruit slushy but the coq au vin was good – complete with turned potatoes, I think the first and last time I used that skill outside of tech.
Another dinner party and out of my steaming pot of mussels appeared a blue flame reminiscent of Casper the ghost – it singed my eyebrows and a large quantity of my hair. And on another occasion I forgot to put the rabbit in the fridge after defrosting – I came home from work to find it on the bench, warm, like a vacuum-packed organ – FYI I think in its place we had chicken or maybe it was takeout.
This recipe wasn’t a disaster; we ate it in our hands but if you can only find large eggplant, serve them on entrée plates with knives and forks.
For the sauce in this recipe you need a nice thick consistency, our amazing and super easy to make tomato sauce recipe is perfect and can be found here
3 eggplants, long and slim
1 ball of Buffalo mozzarella
1 cup of thick tomato sauce
½ cup to 1 cup flour
Good olive oil
Lemon aioli (either store bought or homemade)
1. Slice the eggplant into 1cm rounds. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan on medium-low heat and cook the eggplant slices for approximately 2-3 minutes on each side. Just so they are softened and browned. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
2. Make the tomato sauce, it needs to be quite thick for these fritters to hold their shape and stay together.
3. Slice the buffalo mozzarella into small, thin slices.
4. Divide the eggplant rounds into groups of two; each pair must be the same size (or very similar). I will refer to these now as “tops and bottoms” of the fritters – it doesn’t matter which one is the top and which is the bottom.
5. Lay the bottoms down. Spoon about 1tsp of the thick tomato sauce onto each bottom. Then lay a slice of buffalo mozzarella on top of the sauce. My buffalo mozzarella was so soft making it difficult to slice evenly; I ended up just slicing pieces off approximately the size of the eggplant rounds or pulling larger slices so they were the size of the eggplant rounds.
6. Lastly, top with mint leaves – I covered the entire area with mint, using a couple of large leaves per fritter. Crack black pepper and sprinkle a little sea salt over each fritter.
Place the tops on, pick the fritter up and gently squeeze it together, sealing filling between the eggplant rounds.
7. Pour ½ cup -1 cup flour on a plate. Whisk the eggs together with a couple of tablespoons of cold water in a bowl.
8. Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Coat the fritters in flour (patting off excess), then drop them into the eggwash. From the eggwash, drop them into the hot frying pan. Cook each side for approximately 5-10 minutes. If you want to pre-fry the fritters to serve at a later time, you can cook them for 3-5 minutes each side, then transfer them to an oven tray. When your guests arrive, heat them in a 180ºC oven for 10-15 minutes. Take them out and transfer them to a large platter.
9. In a bowl mix the rocket and shaved parmesan with a splash of balsamic, a little drizzle of olive oil and some rock salt.
10. Place fritters onto plates (or on a large platter), top each fritter with a spoonful of aioli and a little of the salad. Offer napkins to the guests as although they are fairly easy to eat, their hands may be a bit greasy after.