Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Have you ever wondered why we call them eggplants when they don't really look like eggs? We may be more familiar with the dark purple aubergines that tend to grace grocery store shelves, but there are indeed some that are truer to their namesake. These 'Ghostbuster' eggplants from my garden are a great example, with some shorter varieties appearing even more egg-like.
I may hate eggs, but I sure do love eggplant. When all of the other summer produce is crying out to be eaten fresh, eggplant is full of opportunities to bake, saute, grill, and broil to your heart's content.
These 'deviled eggplants' are simply delicious. Though baked and filled with rich lamb meat, the flavor profile keeps them summery. Be sure to pick smaller eggplants with tender skin: go for the pale purple, marbled, or white eggplants instead of the deep purple. With their thinner skin and lack of bitterness, they didn't require any special treatment. If shopping in a grocery store where only dark purple are available, look for the smallest, youngest eggplants.
Ingredients (Serves 2-4, depending on sides):
- 2 eggplants (about 6-8" long)
- 1/3 c. died sweet onion
- 1/4 lb. ground lamb
- 1/4 c. chopped parsley
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c. greek yogurt (nonfat)
- dashes of salt, black pepper, and cumin to taste (1/4 tsp each, to start)
- panko bread crumbs
- olive oil
- Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out the interior, leaving about 1/4" around the edge.
- Dice the scooped out eggplant and set aside.
- In a large skillet, add a scant drizzle of olive oil and the onions.
- Sautee until the onions for about 3 minutes, then add the lamb and seasonings.
- Stir to break up the lamb and brown it, then add the eggplant.
- Sautee the mixture for about 5 minutes, then add a few tablespoons water to deglaze the bottom.
- Continue to cook until the eggplant is tender.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg together with the yogurt and parsley.
- Stir the yogurt mixture into the meat mixture until evenly combined and cook just another two minutes.
- Sprinkle the inside of the eggplant shells with a dash of salt then spoon the mixture into them, mounding it a bit on top to use it all.
- Sprinkle the top of the eggplants evenly with the panko and add a very light drizzle of olive oil.
- Bake the eggplants in the oven for 30 minutes at 350.
- Serve immediately.
I served this with a light simple salad of tomato, cucumber, and onion flavored with fresh parsley, dill, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Easily multiplied to serve a crowd, these can be prepared earlier in the day for easy hosting. Simply make the filling, stuff the eggplants, cover, and refrigerate. Add the panko and put them un the oven, allowing a little extra time since they are now chilled.