Sunday, November 29, 2009

Aubergines Farcies (Stuffed Eggplants)

Another yummy vegetarian recipe from the North African cookbook. I like this even more than the mint quiche.

I love black tomatoes and when I saw them in the shops today I decided to use them in this dish.  Black tomatoes are actually a dark greenish-purple colour and have a strong smokey, slightly sweet taste that goes well with baking.

2 large globe eggplants (or 1 humungous one - for this recipe I used 1 cut into quarters)
Extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil spray
1 onion, chopped
4 tomatoes
2 garlic cloves minced (or 1 teaspoon of bottled garlic)
1/3 cup wheatgerm
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, minced
8 fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon of harissa (if you can't find harissa, use sambal olek which is available in Asian grocery stores)

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celcius. Trim stems from the eggplants and cut the eggplants in half lengthwise.
Using a sharp knife (I recommend a paring knife), remove the flesh leaving a 2 cm thick shell.  Chop up the flesh and set aside. The cookbook doesn't mention this but I recommend putting it in a bowl of salted cold water to prevent the flesh from turning grey, which is what happens to sliced eggplants when left out for a while.

Spray the shells with olive oil spray. Also spray the skin as this helps the eggplant keep its purple colour.  Place the shells in an ovenproof dish lined with baking paper and bake for 4-5 minutes until light brown.

Put olive oil in a frypan and fry the onion until light brown.  Chop 2 of the tomatoes and add them to the onion.

Remove the chopped eggplant from the water and pat dry with a paper towel. Add it to the frypan and reduce the heat to medium.  Cover the frypan and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender.

Transfer the eggplant mixture into a bowl.  Mix it with the garlic, wheatgerm, cheese, parsley, basil, and harissa.  Fill the shells with this mixture.  Slice the remaining tomatoes and place on top of the stuffed eggplant.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Serve immediately.

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