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Author Notes: The eggplant are first boiled, then stuffed with rice, toasted nuts, currants, herbs and cheese, then quickly sauteed (that's where the swearing comes in), and then baked in a rich tomato sauce. I've frozen this very successfully, pre-baking, both in individual serving dishes and as a large casserole. It makes a great dish for a crowd and I've served it at Thanksgiving, as it's a little something different from the regular eggplant parm that is a buffet staple for vegetarians. Without the cheese, it's a vegan dish. The technique for this recipe first appeared in Gourmet magazine. —MrsWheelbarrow
Serves 6, but doubles or triples easily
- 6 smallish eggplant - I prefer the white round types, or the paler purple oblong variety
- 1.5 cups cooked rice (white, brown, basmati, leftover Chinese takeout all work)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesian
- .5 cups toasted pine nuts
- .5 cups currants, plumped
- 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup mixed fresh herbs - basil & parsley & chervil work nicely
- fresh or dried thyme and oregano
- salt & pepper
- canola oil
- 2 quarts whole tomatoes, drained and rough chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/3-1/2 cups olive oil
- Pierce eggplant all over with a fork.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add eggplant and boil for 20-30 minutes, depending on their size, or until fork tender. Remove from the water and cool slightly.
- When cool enough to handle, slice eggplant in half lengthwise, preserving the skin (and half the stem on each half, if possible.) This is a good time to start swearing.
- Scoop out the flesh of the eggplant, rough chop, and put it in a large bowl. Continue swearing a blue streak. They're unbelievably hot and the skin splits. Don't worry. You'll be able to fix this.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the eggplant and stir well. Taste and correct for seasoning.
- Scooping some of the mixture in your hand, (really - use your hands) form it into a large egg shape and stuff the eggplant skins, piecing them together as necessary. Place them on a parchment lined sheet pan as you complete them.
- Heat 1.5"-2" of canola oil in a deep saute pan. I use a cast iron pan. Send the kids out of the room. This is when the swearing really starts.
- When the oil is hot, place two or three halves in the oil, skin side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Using two slotted spoons or a slotted spoon and a spatula, turn the whole blasted thing over without losing the stuffing. Yes, seriously. Cook another 2-3 minutes, until browned on the stuffing side. Remove to a rack lined with paper towels, stuffing side up.
- When you have successfully browned all the eggplant, have a glass of wine. Really, that was a huge pain, wasn't it? Don't worry. It's worth it.
- Preheat the oven to 375
- Now, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the garlic until starting to turn golden, then add the tomatoes, some salt and pepper, and cook for 20-25 minutes until it's good and saucy. (You can also use fresh tomatoes - about 5 lbs., peeled and chopped.)
- Either use individual serving dishes large enough to hold two eggplant or a large rectangular baker. Pour the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and place eggplant on top of the sauce. Cover with foil.
- Bake 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly.
- Take a deep breath. Stop your swearing. Serve and enjoy.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Vegetarian Holiday Side
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Eggplant Recipe
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