It all started at the farmers’ market yesterday. We were marveling over a bin of beautiful eggplants that were 3 for $2, wondering how we could manage to use three whole eggplants. I was suggesting two different eggplant parmesan dishes to Andy when a woman rooting through the bin next to us spoke up. She asked if we’d ever tried roasted eggplant and started going on about how she likes to roast eggplant in a pan with a bunch of tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms, garlic, etc.
Wow. Yum. 3 eggplants, sold for $2. The more I thought about it, an idea began to take shape–what if I roasted the eggplants by themselves and filled them with tomatoey goodness? That’s exactly what I did.
Now, I’m far from a vegetarian, but at this time of the year, sometimes fresh vegetables are all you need. With cheese of course–I’m not going to get too strict about it. Andy and I enjoyed a dinner of roasted stuffed eggplant with fresh sweet corn on the cob, and neither of us missed meat. The eggplant practically melted in our mouths–even the skin was soft and tasty. Andy called it the filet mignon of vegetables, and I think he may be on to something there.
This dish is surprisingly filling. One medium-sized eggplant is enough for two people; if you’re cooking for more, simply double the recipe. You could also reduce the amount of onion and tomato slightly and add some chopped mushrooms. For some reason I keep forgetting to buy them when I’m out.
- 1 medium-sized eggplant
- 1/2 c onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3-4 roma tomatoes, chopped (you should end up with about a cup)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 10 leaves of fresh basil
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp white wine
- 1/8 c shredded mozzarella
- 1/8 c shredded parmesan cheese
- Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Use a sharp knife to make cross hatch marks in the flesh of the eggplant and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of sea salt.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and let the eggplant rest for about 10 minutes.
- You’ll begin to see little water droplets on your eggplant. After about 10 minutes or so, squeeze the eggplant to release a little more moisture and gently blot with a paper towel. This salt process helps keep the eggplant from absorbing too much oil.
- Using a pastry brush, coat the insides of the eggplant with about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Stick 4 of the basil leaves onto the eggplant and put it on a parchment-covered baking pan (skin side up). Roast in the 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes.
- When the eggplant has about 25 minutes remaining, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep skillet. When it begins to shimmer, add chopped onions, cover, and saute until they begin to soften.
- Chop the rest of the basil and add to the skillet, along with 2 cloves of crushed garlic, tomatoes, remaining salt, pepper, and ginger. Stir to combine all ingredients.
- When flavors are combined and bubbling a little, crush the remaining cloves of garlic and stir in. Also add wine.
- Once eggplant is done, remove from oven and turn heat to about 200 degrees. Scoop most of the softened eggplant into the skillet, leaving enough behind to keep the shape of the skin.
- Mix eggplant into skillet for just a minute or two, then remove from heat.
- Return eggplant skins, open side up, to the baking pan and fill with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
- Put eggplants back in the oven for a few minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.