- 1 large eggplant (or about 1 pound)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for brushing eggplant
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound ground Longhorn beef or bison
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup (homemade) breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint: any or all)
- 1 teaspoon salt + 1 teaspoon for the eggplant
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut eggplant in half, season with salt, brush with olive oil and bake until soft (20–25 minutes). Take out (turn oven off) and mash (I always include the skin).
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and cook the onions slowly until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic for the last minute.
Mix everything together in a bowl. Do a taste test: Roll a small amount of seasoned meat into a ball, poach and taste. Adjust seasoning if needed. Shape meatballs (in between a golf and tennis ball size).
Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush a baking sheet with cooking oil and arrange meatballs in a single layer. Transfer tray to the oven and bake until brown on all sides, about 18–20 minutes. The meatballs should be hot inside (test by inserting a metal skewer for 10 seconds: If it comes out hot, the meatball is done).
Suggestion: Serve hot with mustard, a mesclun salad and thick slices of crusty bread!