Cast Iron

Swearing Like A Sailor Stuffed Eggplant

September  1, 2009
3 Ratings
  • Serves 6, but doubles or triples easily
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

What You'll Need
  • Stuffed Eggplant
  • 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
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 2 quarts whole tomatoes, drained and rough chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/3-1/2 cups olive oil
  1. Pierce eggplant all over with a fork.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients to the eggplant and stir well. Taste and correct for seasoning.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375
  11. 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.)
  12. 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.
  13. Bake 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly.
  14. Take a deep breath. Stop your swearing. Serve and enjoy.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • boulangere
  • Rivka
  • Sagegreen
  • Savorykitchen
  • cheese1227
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29 Reviews

Renee B. December 15, 2014
I'll make these for book club this week. It looks like they are battered before frying. Is that correct or do the skins just get crusty? Also, do you think toasted chopped walnuts would work instead of other nuts? I do have whole almonds so can use them.
MrsWheelbarrow December 15, 2014
They're not battered, just crisped. Walnuts would be terrific!
Renee B. December 16, 2014
Thank you, Cathy. I'm all set then and can't wait to start swearing! Maybe I'll try an arugula salad with shaved parmesan, pomegranate seeds to accompany it.
Renee B. December 19, 2014
Just a followup note to say that these were a big hit at book club. Very time consuming but delicious. "This is restaurant quality" was the first comment which was followed by lots of oohs and aahs. Everyone had seconds. I used brown Korean sushi rice (not sweet but called sweet brown rice) which was sticky, chewy and excellent. Next time I will use less oil in the pan so that it doesn't spill over the sides of the boats while frying them cut side up. Thanks so much.
MrsWheelbarrow December 19, 2014
Fantastic news! But tell me.... did you swear?
Renee B. December 19, 2014
I could have just once when I stupidly burned a knuckle while sliding one of the casserole dishes into the oven. It was such a shock that I forgot to swear!
jerry W. July 28, 2014
Outstanding recipe, forgot to buy currants and still excellent.
iflamm April 14, 2013
This recipe is worth it, and is better if made one day before serving.

I used chopped dates and cashews instead of pine nuts and currants, used an additional eggplant in the stuffing, and roasted halved eggplants instead of boiling. Bravo!
iflamm June 22, 2013
I made these again with quinoa, pine nuts, and sour cherries. I only cursed once. served them over Food 52's Yotam Ottolenghi's Sweet Corn Polenta. Amazing!
boulangere September 25, 2011
The kitchen present multiple opportunities to begin swearing. Thank you for pointing out some of them to us.
GSmodden September 24, 2011
What are currants? Wikipedia says they're berries, but are they like prunes? Where should I look for them in the grocery store? I want to make this recipe today. But I was wondering, can I substitute anything else just in case I don't find them at my closest grocery store?
wssmom September 24, 2011
I have used raisins in place of currants.
MrsWheelbarrow September 25, 2011
Wssmom is spot on - raisins, golden raisins - even apricots or prunes (chopped) are a nice addition. Hope you enjoyed it!
GSmodden September 25, 2011
I swore only once when a wayward oil bubble popped and spurted in my eye. Other than that, all this work was totally worth it. Really, really, delicious.
wcl July 23, 2012
dried cranberries work really well in this. the tartness is a bit like the tartness of currants. i've tried raisins but find them a little too sweet...
MrsWheelbarrow July 23, 2012
Nice idea!
Rivka October 5, 2010
I LOVE this recipe. Having done everything imaginable with baby eggplant over the past month, I'm thrilled to find yet another great use for them.
MrsWheelbarrow October 5, 2010
Thanks, Rivka. Funny - I was just thinking this is the week to make a double recipe of these eggplants, putting half in the freezer for the winter and having the other half NOW. It's a great freezer-ready dinner! The eggplant have been so pretty this year.
Sagegreen August 16, 2010
These boats look adorable all lined up on your sea of granite!
Savorykitchen August 16, 2010
I am going to make this tonight or tomorrow - I was planning on subbing almonds for the pinenuts b/c around here they cost the earth (Costco stopped carrying them b/c they were too expensive and my local markets don't get the turnover to ensure fresh product - rancid pine nuts = awful). Almonds go ok with your vision? :-)
MrsWheelbarrow August 16, 2010
Oh Mary, I'm so so glad you're going to make these. Agreed re: pignolas esp those from China and the incidences of pine-mouth (bad taste that won't go away for WEEKS.) So, I think almonds would be great. Pistachios might be even better. The crunch is essential.
Savorykitchen August 16, 2010
Oh pistachios will be perfect and I have plenty of those on hand. I bought some pine nuts recently - tried them first and spit the nut right out: Rancid, awful.

One other question: is there a reason to do the frying skin side down first? I was thinking I'd do stuffing side first (easier to lay into oil and then use spatula to hold everything in when I turn them to finish on the skin side.
MrsWheelbarrow August 16, 2010
I see no reason, off hand, to start skin side down, but as that's the way the original recipe was written, I've always gone that way. Do half & half and report back!
cheese1227 April 2, 2010
I have an urgent question regarding this recipe. I have a vegetarian coming to Easter dinner who is also a Jew observing passover (yes, there will be an eclectic group at my Eater table!). So I am wondering if a.) I can just leave out the breadcrumbs in this dish or 2.) substitute matzo meal for them. Please reply ASAP as I need to shop on Sat AM. Thanks.
MrsWheelbarrow April 2, 2010
I'm sure matzoh meal would work perfectly. The breadcrumbs are used to ensure the crunchy crust, and MM would work just as well, I'm sure. I hope you enjoy them! I can't wait for eggplant season to start. (remember to use the small variety. white if possible)
NakedBeet March 17, 2010
Isn't yelling and screaming the only appropriate thing when you're cooking?! ; ) My in laws LOVE eggplants (and I do, too) so I'll expose us all to this.
NakedBeet March 17, 2010
These look wonderful! I'm going to give these a go soon.
MrsWheelbarrow March 17, 2010
I'm so happy you've found this recipe. It's one of my favorites. My husband named them, because I do yell and scream the whole time I make it but we just love the flavor combo. Hope you do too!
Savorykitchen January 30, 2010
I can not wait to make these this summer when the small eggplants fly back into the market. This looks *so* delicious!