Our community garden plot produced an amazingly lovely Black Beauty Eggplant. Our fellow Fenton Garden Plotter, Beth Py-Lieberman, snapped this shot of Calvin holding the specimen. So far, all of our eggplants have been sliced for various creations, as well as for freezing for the winter. But this large eggplant deserved to be turned into an art form. So I searched for a stuffed eggplant recipe and came across one that sounded quite interesting. Well, having survived cooking and baking in my non-air conditioned kitchen, plus having a few mis haps (namely dropping the olive oil bottle on the floor and some spilling out and dropping a hot glass pot lid on my toe due to the heat and the resulting brain melt) the outcome was simply delicious!!
Ratings from Patrick, Calvin and me: Five peas ••••• each (on a 1 to 5 scale)
Comments from Calvin: “Ummmm. This is good. This was better than I thought! I give it five hundred peas!!”
(Adapted from: http://articles.boston.com/2009-08-19/lifestyle/29257313_1_italian-eggplant-ricotta-olive-oil)
Yield: 2 servings (One large eggplant actually gave us 6 servings. This is a rich and filling creation so less is more and we complimented the dinner with a tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, walnut and pumpkin seed salad, as well as garlic and butter Nan bread.)
2 medium or 1 large eggplant (Plus I added one long thin eggplant, see below)
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 medium ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cup paneer or whole milk ricotta (I used ricotta)
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 sausages or 2 slices ham, finely diced, or omit this if you’re vegetarian (I used chicken sausages)
1 egg, beaten
Extra fresh cilantro, chopped (for sprinkling)
- Set the oven at 400°F/200°C.
- Halve the eggplant lengthwise. Place them in the baking dish, cut sides up. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season to taste. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender.(It actually took much longer than 20 minutes.)
- Scoop out the eggplant flesh with a spoon and mash it gently with a fork.
- In a skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. When it is hot, add the coriander, cumin and chopped garlic to it. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the eggplant flesh. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes or until the mixture is pulpy and well flavored. Discard the bay leaf.
- Lower the oven temperature to 375°F/190C.
- Stir the paneer/ricotta, parmesan, cilantro, sausages/ham, salt, and pepper into the eggplant mixture. Once the mixture is little cool, stir in the beaten egg. Fill the eggplant shells back with the stuffing. Reserve some of the parmesan for later.
- Return the shells to the baking dish. Sprinkle with olive oil. Bake the eggplant for 30-40 minutes or until the shells are tender when pierced with a skewer. During the last 10 minutes of baking, sprinkle the reserved parmesan on top of the eggplant for a golden, cheesy finish! (Half way through the baking process, I added additional sliced eggplant that had been salted for 20 minutes, rinsed fully, pat dried and then sprayed with Olive Oil and placed with the stuffed eggplant in the baking dish.)
- Plate it. Eat it.