-Preheat your oven to 350°F.
-Cut 2 medium eggplant crosswise into ½ inch-thick slices.
-Soak in ice water for 20 minutes.
-Brush 1 large baking sheets with oil.
-Pat eggplant dry; arrange in single layer on the baking sheet.
-Brush lightly with oil.
-Bake until eggplant is tender and dry, about 35-40 minutes.
-Cool slightly; chop coarsely.
-Cut 4 ounces of smoked mozzarella cheese into ½ inch cubes, you need about 20 total.
-Whisk together the following in a medium bowl:
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup parsley
1 TBS chopped fresh thyme
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp sea salt
-Stir in chopped eggplant (mixture will be soft).
-Spread 1 cup panko breadcrumbs on plate.
-Whisk 1 egg
-Put ½ cup flour in another bowl.
-Press and shape eggplant mixture into 1¼ inch diameter balls.
-Press 1 piece of the smoked mozzarella into center of each ball, making sure eggplant mixture covers cheese.
-Dip balls, 1 at a time, into the egg then the flour. Then dip in egg again and roll in breadcrumbs to coat.
-Pour enough oil into large skillet to reach depth of ¼ inch; heat over medium-high heat.
-Working in batches, add balls to skillet; sauté until browned, turning often, about 4 minutes.
-Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
-Sprinkle with sea salt and serve hot.