In New York, eggplant is in season from July to October. If you live in the stony brook area you can find locally grown eggplants at the farmstands right now. Although eggplant is not one of my favorite vegetables, this dish was so delicious, I plan on making this over and over again.
The eggplant is baked with a filling of sweet potato, tomatoes and cheese. It is then topped with more cheese and fresh herbs and baked until the eggplant is soft and the cheese is melted and crispy on top. Overall, this dish is very healthy with all the seasonal vegetables, just limit the amount of cheese to make it a little healthier. It will still be delicious!
This recipe comes from one of the most beautiful cookbooks I have seen, La Petite Gourmande by Beatrice Peltre. Every recipe in the book looks simply amazing. An added bonus for me, most recipes in the book are gluten free. The writer of this book does not have Celiac Disease but prefers to bake with gluten free grains such as quinoa flour, almond flour and amaranth flour for their flavor. I am looking forward to trying some of her tart recipes in the near future.
Sweet Potato Stuffed Eggplant
4 Italian eggplants (about 5"-6" long)
1 small red onion-diced small
1 celery stalk-diced small
1 tbsp fresh ground coriander
Pinch of red chili flakes
Salt and pepper-to taste
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 large tomatoes-blanched, peeled and chopped
1 carrot-finely grated
1 sweet potato-peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
4 oz Emmental cheese or Gruyere cheese-grated
Handful of fresh cilantro or basil-chopped
1. Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise. Scoop out the middle flesh of the eggplant using a grapefruit spoon or a serrated knife and teaspoon. Make sure to leave about 1/4" border in the eggplant shell. Sprinkle the eggplant shells with sea salt and turn upside down (skin face up) for 30 minutes. Reserve flesh of eggplant, chop and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by coating a deep skillet with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Bring pan to medium heat and add in onions and celery. Cook until soft and translucent; about 10 minutes. Do not brown vegetables.
4. Add in fresh coriander,red chili flakes, pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix together.
5. Add in tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. Cook 2 minutes.
6. Add in sweet potato, carrot, flesh of eggplant and bay leaves. Cover and cook 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. After the filling has cooked 25-30 minutes, add in 3/4 of the cheese and chopped fresh cilantro or basil. Stuff each eggplant half with filling mixture and place on a parchment lines baking sheet.
8. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 45-50 minutes until eggplant is soft and the cheese is slightly brown and crispy on top. Garnish with herbs.