Eggplant & Wild Mushroom “Meatballs” in Tomato Sauce

IMG_4175

This dish was time-consuming for a summer meal, but it was FABULOUS. Completely worth every second. It is a classic Sicilian recipe enhanced by the addition of dried wild mushrooms. The “meatballs” were very flavorful and tender, and held together nicely. The sauce is perfect. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Domenica Marchetti, author of The Glorious Vegetables of Italy. Next time, I will make it ahead of time and double the recipe. GREAT.

  • Total Time: approximately 2 hours
  • Servings: 4
  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms or mixed dry wild mushrooms (shiitake, porcini, black, & oyster)
  • Boiling water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, finely grated with a garlic press
  • Two 28-ounce cans imported whole Italian tomatoes, (seeded, if desired) and pureed with their juices
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil, plus leaves for garnish
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • All-purpose flour, for coating
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Crusty bread, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork and set it on a baking sheet. Roast in the center of the oven for 1 hour, until very soft and collapsed. Let cool slightly, then scrape the eggplant flesh into a large bowl and let cool completely. Discard the skin. Lightly shred with two forks.
  2. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, cover the dry mushrooms with 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and let stand until softened, 30 minutes; drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Rinse the mushrooms to remove any grit. Finely chop.
  3. In an enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and half of the garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and pour in the mushroom soaking liquid, stopping before reaching the grit; bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until thickened, 1 hour. Add half of the chopped basil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Fold the chopped mushrooms, bread crumbs, eggs, 2 ounces of cheese, parsley and the remaining garlic and chopped basil into the eggplant. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a large cookie scoop, form the eggplant mixture into twenty (I had 24 with a 1 1/2 pound eggplant) 1 3/4-inch balls, rolling tightly. Dust the balls with flour and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.IMG_4170
  6. In a large nonstick or cast iron skillet, heat a scant 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Add half of the meatballs at a time and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 4-5 minutes. If necessary, drain on paper towels. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Garnish the meatballs with basil leaves and serve with crusty bread and grated cheese.

IMG_4181

Herb-Roasted Turkey with Wild Mushroom Gravy


When we moved to Long Island, one of our Thanksgiving family traditions was to purchase a fresh turkey from the local butcher.  Last year, when I had a second refrigerator for the first time, I purchased our turkey at Trader Joe’s because it was brined, and because I could store it.  My husband was skeptical.  It was the best turkey EVER.  We did it again this year, and we were not disappointed.

The Wild Mushroom Gravy was beyond amazing.  My brother helped prepare it, and he was very proud with the results.  This recipe is from Food and Wine.

Herb Roasted Turkey

For the Turkey:

  • 1 loaf of ciabatta, about 1 pound (if cooking the turkey upside-down)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme, plus 4 large sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage, plus 4 large sprigs
  • coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • One 19- to 20-pound turkey, neck and gizzard reserved
  • 1 large apple (I used a Granny Smith)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large celery rib, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for rubbing
  • 2 cups of chicken stock

For the Gravy:

  • 2-3 tablespoons small dried porcini pieces (or mixed dried wild mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 oz golden chanterelles or a mix of cremini and oyster mushrooms, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth, plus pan drippings
  1. Let turkey stand at room temperature for one hour. Remove from packaging, drain brine, if applicable, and dry with paper towels.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, beat the butter with the garlic, chopped thyme and chopped sage and season with salt and pepper. (See note below if roasting the turkey upside-down.)
  3. Season the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Rub two-thirds of the herb butter under the skin and under the neck flap. Place the remaining butter in the cavity along with the thyme and sage sprigs. Tuck the wing tips under the bird and tie the legs together with kitchen string (optional).
  4. Tuck one half of the apple, rounded side out, under the neck flap, place the other half in the main cavity. Fold the neck skin under the body and secure with a skewer.
  5. Put the onion, carrot and celery in a large roasting pan. Set the turkey in the pan and add the neck (and gizzard).
  6. Rub the turkey all over with olive oil.
  7. Roast the turkey in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue to roast, basting occasionally, for 2 to 3 hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165° when inserted in an inner thigh (I have had great success using the temperature probe that works through the oven.).
  9. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and let rest in a warm place for at least 25 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  10. In a small bowl, cover the porcini with 1/4 cup of hot water. Let stand until softened, about 10 minutes.
  11. In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the chanterelle mushrooms and the shallots and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown and tender, about 8 minutes.
  12. Lift the porcini from the soaking liquid and add to the skillet. Cover and remove the skillet from the heat.
  13. Set a coarse strainer over a medium bowl. Pour in the juices and vegetables from the roasting pan and press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Skim the fat off of the juices and reserve 2 tablespoons. (I use a fat separator.)
  14. In a large saucepan, stir the reserved fat with the flour until smooth; cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  15. Gradually whisk in the strained juices and the stock and bring to a simmer, whisking.
  16. Add to the mushroom mixture and simmer over low heat, whisking often, until no floury taste remains, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  17. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

2016 UPDATE:

Note: To modify this recipe and cook the turkey upside-down:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection. Place the roasting pan on a rimmed cookie sheet.
  2. Prepare the turkey and pan as described above.
  3. Slice the ciabatta horizontally and butter the cut sides of the bread generously.
  4. Set a V-shaped wire rack in the roasting pan and place the slices of bread side-by-side lengthwise, buttered-sides up on the rack.
  5. Place the turkey breast-side down, so it rests on the bread (not directly on the rack). Place in oven and roast 60 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and, using silicone oven mitts, carefully flip the turkey breast-side up.
  7. Add the stock into the pan. Season the skin with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
  9. Continue to cook, basting occasionally with pan juices, until the thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees.
  10. Let rest one hour before carving.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,311 other followers

Recipe Categories

my foodgawker gallery
my photos on tastespotting

Top Posts & Pages

Churro Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Orange-Guajillo Pulled Chicken Tacos
Ravneet Gill's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
One-Pan Shrimp Scampi with Orzo
Pasta Primavera with Asparagus, Peas, & Crème Fraîche
Bread Machine Brioche
Rick Bayless' Classic Mexican Fried Beans with Onions & Garlic
Portuguese Rolls
Danish Pear-Apple Bars
Pinchos Morunos: Spanish Spice-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Bites
Foodista Food Blog of the Day Badge
%d bloggers like this: