Whenever I see eggplants incorporated in a dish (I speak only for the dishes that I’m accustomed to), it’s always on a supporting role. So I consulted with my good friend, Google, and got all sorts of ideas. Hey, eggplant can be in a starring role after all! I wanted to try everything at once (that eggplant parmigiana sounds really good!), but I didn’t have much ingredients on hand.
Then I came across photos of stuffed eggplants. Mmmmm…that should work for me. Dinner is served!
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes (includes resting)
Cook time: 60 minutes
1 large eggplant
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 lb ground beef
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with silpat baking mat or parchment paper.
2. Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the center, leaving enough meat inside the skin so that it holds its shape when baked. Chop the eggplant flesh finely and set aside.
3. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the oil, then the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the ground beef, season with salt and pepper. Cook until crumbled and no longer pink.
4. Add the chopped eggplant and cook until much of its liquid has evaporated. Stir in the basil, thyme, and parsley. Turn off heat and transfer the meat mixture into a large bowl. Cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
5. To the meat mixture, stir in the red pepper flakes, cheese, bread crumbs, and beaten egg. Mix until combined.
6. Fill the eggplant halves with the filling, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender all the way through. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe by JG