Happy Halloween Everyone!
Nope. I won’t post a squash recipe today. I could not resist, but I just had to dedicate one more post – and last one for this season – to my beloved eggplants. Actually, that’s what I said a few weeks ago when we grilled them..
Just recently my parents showed up with the very last eggplants from the garden. They were so tiny, and looked so cute! I had to take pictures of them. On top of that, that was the chance, and rare event, to cook together and organize a photo shoot while my family was visiting. Finally I had all those ‘hands’ available to take pictures of! I better not tell you the acrobatics that I do, when you see my own hand in the picture while it’s me taking it…
But besides that, my main intention was to share with you this recipe that I grew up with. That is why it’s so special. This recipe goes back to when even my grandma was making these. Now my mom is the expert. Sometimes we help out when she prepares them, but most of the time it’s just her. We don’t even want to get in the way while she creates this super tasty dish. These eggplants were a little more challenging to prepare though, due to their size. But the bigger they are the easier and faster it is to make them.
One thing that really fascinates me about this vegetable is how different it can taste depending on how you prepare it. One of the most popular dishes in Italy is probably the stuffed version, with ground meat. Which I personally don’t like. I think the meat takes away way too much of the eggplant’s taste. Contrary to this one, where you can taste every bit of it!
Long story short, we really enjoyed cooking, taking pictures (I was impressed as to how patient my family was) and, of course, the typical Italian extended lunch.
Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!
Ok, I gotta run now, or I’ll burn the potatoes and eggplant that I am baking in the oven right now!
- 4 medium-sized eggplants (or 8 mini eggplants)
- 2 full tbsp cured Italian sausage (salsiccia) or bacon, thinly chopped
- 3-4 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, thinly chopped
- 1 handful grated parmesan cheese
- olive oil
- ground red pepper
- fresh chili (to taste, if you like it extra hot)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F.
- Chop the sausage or bacon, parsley and garlic and set aside.
- Wash the eggplants and cut off the stem.
- Then cut into half, lengthwise. Place all of them inside of a large baking dish (make sure that it's deep enough to pour a little water inside later on), with the cut side up.
- With a sharp knife cut lines into each eggplant, lengthwise and crosswise (about halfway deep inside of the eggplant).
- Sprinkle the halves with salt and red pepper while pulling each half carefully apart, in order to open up the cuts.
- Fill the cuts with the thinly chopped sausage or bacon, garlic, parsley and chili (if you want it extra hot) and place them back into the baking dish. You can help yourself with the back side of a knife.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and olive oil.
- Pour approx. 1 medium-sized cup of water into the baking dish.
- Cover with aluminium foil and bake for approx. 45 min. Check once in a while and add additional water if necessary.
- Uncover and continue baking for about 15 more min.
- Serve warm.
- The baking time might vary depending on the size of the eggplants. Quick test: If a fork slides easily into the eggplant, you know that they are done.