Eggplant "Keftedes"

16 Oct
Hello to my loyal readers (loyal enough to remember me, since yesterday was my first post in 11 months)-

My apologies for my absence, but I have been busy with some other things.  Notably, things like this traditional Greek-abandoned-train dance I’m demonstrating below.

In case you have been reading this blog and thinking, “Gosh, they keep posting these damn recipes I can make myself and ALL I WANT ARE SOME REVIEWS OF GREEK RESTAURANTS IN PARIS,” I bring good news: L’Olivier, which I mentioned last year, has completely redone the interior and also has received a Michelin star.  Boo-ya-ka-sha.  

I have also found new exciting and not-too-stuffy Parisian places that we’ll have to talk about another time, although those who know me will be stunned to learn that they’re all rive droite (horror!).  But they’re all reaaaaly fun and realllly good:
  • Jaja 
  • le taxi jaune–specialist in horse meat, which sadly my soon-to-be-30 diet prevented me from having (because who doesn’t say “I’m going to be 30 in a year and therefore I will abstain from eating Mr. Ed?), but the fish and ratatouille were also awesome
  • Autour d’un verre, which is really Brooklyn, except for (1) the menu that is only on the chalkboard (ChefKefi, RN editor note–please excuse my brother who has lived out of the country for a decade and does not realize that this is what EVERY restaurant in Brooklyn did four years ago/still does), (2) no one’s speaking English, and (3)  THE WINE.  Amazing wines, all chosen by the waiters when you describe what you want.  And all the wines are ‘new’ French
  • And, finally, Au Coin Bio, which is perfect for a Sunday brunch if you’re walking through the Marais and want to eat at makeshift tables in an outdoor market
(ChefKefi, RN editor note: THANK THE LORD that now when people google “gluten-free pumpkin recipes with Parisian restaurant reviews, my blog will come up first!)
Ok, so onto the food. Keftedes are great Greek meatballs.  If you’re Greek-American and a bit health conscious, however, you make them vegetarian. And if you’re Greek-American, health-conscious and a bit creative, you bake them as a casserole rather than frying them. And then they look like this:
The 2nd full dish from the left.
They are a little labor intensive but so worth it. Best if made the night before so the flavor comes together.

JetSet Kef’s Keftedes
 
Ingredients:
  • 2 large eggplants
  • 2.5 tomatoes
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 Green pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil or spearmint, finely chopped
  • 2 sweet onions
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 150(ish)g good feta cheese
  • 1c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
Assembly
1a (do in parallel with steps 1b and 1c). Peel the eggplant and soak in salted water for 30 mins. Grate or dice very finely.  Then you need to get all the water out of the eggplant.  This part is fundamentally not fun.  The best thing to do is put a few tablespoons of eggplant into a potato ricer at a time and squeeze all the water out.  (You can only do a few tablespoons at a time, though — don’t go crazy otherwise you won’t get the water out.  And getting the water out of the eggplants and the tomatoes is one of the tricks here.)  By the way, if you don’t have a potato ricer, get one.  Game changer.  Also if you don’t have a potato ricer, you can squeeze the water out bit by bit with your hands (if you have 4 hours).

1b. Peel the tomatoes.  Then cut into quarters and squeeze them like lemons to get rid of the seeds and a lot of the water.  Then dice them. Now put a paper towel into into a sieve and put the tomatoes on top of them.  Add some salt to the tomatoes and let them sit for a least an hour while you’re getting other things ready.  When it’s done, the tomatoes should be much drier and should peel away from the paper towel pretty easily.

1c. Dice the peppers, onions, garlic and herbs. Everything should be nice and small otherwise you will be eating baked wannabe-ratatouille

2. Place the eggplant and the tomatoes into a large bowl and all the peppers, herbs, garlic, egg, vinegar, baking powder and salt and pepper. (NB: you only need red peppers to add some color to the final product … otherwise it comes out a not-so-appetizing brown-ish grey.  If you really hate red peppers and you like brown food, feel free to skip them).  Stir gently; add the cheese and the flour.  Add the flour slowly — you don’t want these to get too floury.  As you add it, you can test the consistency by putting a bunch onto a teaspoon; if it slides off, it’s too watery, and if it sticks, it’s too dry.  You want it to be like thick honey:
Even JetSet Kef gets a sous chef sometimes–meet Khalid Kef!

3. Put all of this into an olive oiled baking pan and cook for 30+ minutes on 350.  Let it cool and serve.  You’ll know it’s done when there’s not water cooking up on the sides anymore (another reason why you really need to get the water out of the tomato and the eggplant before you start cooking).  The cheese should have melted and it should be nicely warm all the way through.  It often takes a good 45+ minutes for me — so just make sure to start monitoring it after 30 mins.

2 Responses to “Eggplant "Keftedes"”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Terror Twins Do It Again: Greek Easter 2014 Part I | Cooking Up Kefi - April 22, 2014

    […] on Friday (after a truly epic shopping trip in the Wilkes-Barre Wegmans). JetSet started with his eggplant keftedes, while I worked on spanakopita and the Picnic Pie (aka: Spinach Pie on Crack).By midnight, I was […]

  2. Greek Easter 2014: Part II | Cooking Up Kefi - April 23, 2014

    […] JetSet’s painstaking, time consuming labor of love: eggplant keftedes-cum-casserole, […]

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