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eggplant recipe

2 6–8-inch eggplants
2 tablespoons kosher (or any coarse) salt
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup seeded, chopped cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped (leftover) cooked meat: hamburger, lamb, pork, turkey, chicken or ham
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 cup shredded Jarlsberg or Jarlsberg Lite cheese
Additional shredded Jarlsberg for topping

Slice eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out flesh, leaving ½-inch thick shell to form a “boat.” Spread salt over each eggplant; rub salt into eggplant pulp. Press pulp into a pot and cover with cool water. Let stand 40 minutes. Drain off salty water and rinse well with cool water. Using paper towels, thoroughly press out any moisture.

Chop eggplant pulp and measure out 2 cups (reserve remainder for another use).

Saute chopped pulp in oil, adding garlic and onion. Cook, covered tightly and stirring occasionally, 3- 5 minutes until eggplant is soft. Add tomatoes, meat, herbs, salt and pepper. Cover and cook about 5 minutes longer or until tender.

Place mixture in bowl and toss with 1 cup shredded cheese. Spoon filling into eggplant boats, patting to a mounded shape. Place each boat on large rectangle of heavy duty foil. Crimp up edges to seal. Place on grill away from direct heat. Cover grill and cook until done about 30 minutes). Or bake in oven 50 minutes at 400°.

When eggplant are almost done, open foil and add additional shredded cheese. Crimp tightly and put back on grill or in oven to melt, about 3 minutes. Serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side.

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