This is a great light dish for summertime. Choose uniformly shaped Italian (globe) eggplants that are of medium size. The larger an eggplant, the larger the seeds. Serve this dish with a salad as a nice meal or as an appetizer for a group. The recipe easily scales up as needed.
- 1 medium Italian eggplant
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- red pepper flakes
- 2 firm medium fresh tomatoes, e.g. plum
- 1 garlic clove
- 6 pitted black olives
- 1 tbsp drained capers
- ¼ dried breadcrumbs (I like to use panko breadcrumbs)
- 2 stems mint leaves, stems removed, plus some chopped mint for garnish
- 1 tbsp grated cheese (pecorino or parmigiana)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Prepare the stuffing. Select a medium bowl to hold the stuffing.
- Slice the eggplant lengthwise in half. With a melon baller or teaspoon, hollow out the eggplant and place the pulp on a cutting board. Rough chop the pulp. Set the hollowed eggplant aside.
- Over medium heat, add a tbsp of olive oil to a medium sauce pan. Add the chopped onion, a pinch of salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Sauté until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Finally add the chopped eggplant pulp and sauté until everything is softened. If the pan becomes dry, add a little water or white wine. Place the mixture in the bowl for the stuffing.
- Rough chop the tomatoes, capers and pitted black olives and add to the stuffing bowl. Rough chop the mint leaves and add to bowl.
- Finally, add the breadcrumbs and cheese to bowl. Mix together and taste. Quite a bit of salt was already added by the olives, capers and cheese. Add salt and pepper as you like. Add a tbsp of olive oil to moisten the mixture; toss to combine.
Prepare the eggplant. Select a baking dish to hold the eggplant halves.
- Trim away the the root end of the eggplant. Rinse out each half and lay each half cut side down on a towel to dry.
- Hold each eggplant half over the bowl with the stuffing, stuff the eggplant with the prepared mixture filling it but without packing in. Place each eggplant in the baking dish.
- Preheat oven to 400℉. Drizzle a little olive oil over each eggplant. Add a few tbsps water to the baking dish to create steam. Grease the underside of a piece of foil with olive oil using a pastry brush, a paper towel or cooking spray.
- Cover the dish holding the eggplant with the prepared foil and seal tightly. Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and check if the eggplant is soft by inserting a sharp knife into the white flesh. If still tough, re-cover and bake for another ten minutes and test again. Finally, bake uncovered for another 10 minutes to brown the eggplant.
- This dish can be served hot, room temperature or cold; before serving sprinkle chopped mint on top. If you are going to refrigerate the eggplant for later, allow them to cool to room temp before placing in the refrigerator.
- Serving Size: 2