Friday, October 5, 2012

Baked Stuffed Eggplant

This was pretty.
This was easy.
This tasted good.

You will need:

         2 small-to-medium Italian eggplants (6-8 inches long, 10-12 ounces each)
         3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
         1 teaspoon salt, divided
         1 large onion
         2 cloves garlic
         1 large green bell pepper, cut lengthwise into quarters
         3 plum tomatoes
         1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
         1 teaspoon sugar
         2 bay leaves
         Lemon wedges for serving

To Make:

 -So, preheat the oven. Get that going at 400F.
-Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray.
-Then prep the eggplants. Remove the leaves, but leave the stems on. Using a knife make a slit lengthways down the fleshy side of the eggplant. You’re going to be putting lots of veggies in here, so make sure it’s deep, but doesn’t go all the way through. The slit will go from one inch below the stem and stop one inch from the bottom.
-Put the four halves on the greased roasting pan and brush the eggplant all over with olive oil. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and leave cut side down on the roasting pan.
-Bake for 15 minutes

 While the eggplant is baking, start prepping the veggies:
-thinly slice the onion
-finely chop garlic
-quarter the bell pepper. With one quarter-thinly slice. With the rest-dice it.
-cut one of the tomatoes into 4 wedges
with the other two tomatoes-dice them

Now let’s cook:
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large skillet over med/high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for a minute or so.
-add bell pepper, diced tomatoes, ½ cup parsley, sugar, bay leaves and 3/5 teaspoon of salt.
-Once everything is in, cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
-Remove from heat and discard the bay leaves.

Let's Assemble
*but first make sure that the eggplant hasn't been in the oven for more than 15 minutes.

Ok, now let's assemble
-Take the eggplants that have been baked for 15 minutes and turn each one over to flesh side up.
*They will be hot.
-Use a couple spoons to widen the slits. (Make sexual jokes while doing so, vegetarians have a sense of humor too)
-Stuff the slits with the veggie mixture. Make sure it’s in there good. (make a few more sexual jokes) Be generous though and let it over-flow a bit if needed as seen below
-Place one of the tomato wedges in each eggplant. Then divide the sliced pepper among them, just on top.
-Add ¼ inch hot water to the roasting pan. Drizzle the eggplants with a couple tablespoons of oil (not for each, but total)
-Bake For 30 minutes

While they are baking for the 30 minutes, set the table and finish off the meal. I kept it simple and served this with hummus, carrots, cucumbers and warmed up pita bread. Next time though, I might do a side of pasta or rice because we all agreed it would go well with this eggplant. That being said, it's pretty damn good on it's own as well.

 *Notice how my remaining parsley is still hanging out... save that for the end!

-After it’s baked for 30 minutes, let it cool for at least 15 minutes. Since you’ve already set the table and prepped the side dishes while it baked, use this time to catch up on drinking.
-Garnish with the last 3 tablespoons of parsley and the lemon wedges.
-I served this warm but it can also be served cold.

Recipe Credit: Eating Well

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