In the Mediterranean we stuff almost everything. Stuffed vegetables have much variation; some preparations demand more work or time than others. Here is an idea for a light dish that is fast to prepare, using fresh tiny eggplants that are very tasty in summer. This can be served as the main dish (in that case serving size is two eggplants) or as a snack with a glass of wine. It can be serve warm or cold.
Serves 4 or 8
4 cups water
8 mini eggplants, washed, stems removed
12 ounces goat cheese*, crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
4 ounces pine nuts, chopped**
Mixed salad greens
Pour water into a shallow cooking pot and bring to a boil. Add eggplant and cook for 7 minutes***.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Take the eggplants off the heat, rinse in cold water and dry. With a small knife open the eggplants lengthwise and scrape out the flesh into a plate, leaving thick enough walls so you don’t tear the skin.
Coarsely chop the flesh and place in a bowl along with goat cheese, olive oil, garlic, dill, black pepper and pine nuts. Mix well. and then stuff eggplants with this filling.
Arrange eggplants in a lightly greased baking dish and bake 20 minutes.
Arrange greens on serving plates and drizzle with olive oil. Take eggplants out of the oven and arrange on the greens to serve.
* One can use different cheese depend on taste and what other foods are served. Use sharper cheese as blue cheese, milder sheep cheese, or combination to create different tastes.
** If you can’t get pine nuts use chopped pecans. Also, feel free to change and add ingredients in Mediterranean style, like, adding sundried tomatoes, pickled lemons or olives, or substitute dill with parsley.
*** Alternative way is to grill the eggplants on a grill or under your oven broiler for 10 minutes. This method gives the eggplant’s flesh a better taste; however, the skin may become fragile, so you have to be more careful in stage 3, and just let them cool (no water).
Edible Berkshires is a local, independently owned publication dedicated to covering the unique culinary culture of Western Massachusetts.