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Stuffed Eggplant from Spain via the Midwest

I was instantly drawn to these eggplants at the farmers market on Sunday. Their purple and white stripes called out to me, begging me to bring them home and turn them into a proper meal. I’d already walked past their purple cousins, but these made me stop, turn and go back.

I didn’t really have a plant, but my sister mentioned Belia, one of her Spanish coworkers had shared a stuffed eggplant recipe with her that she enjoyed, and I asked for it, made a few changes to make it my own, and with the first bite, I was instantly glad I’d stopped to pause and consider the possibilities of striped eggplants on a warm summer evening.

Depending on your eggplant size, this may yield leftover stuffing. Fear not, for I have the perfect answer to this issue. It looks a lot like the sauce on the pasta, and it’s so incredible that I’ve already declared it a new family favorite.

Stuffed Eggplant

4-6 Chinese eggplants or 2 large eggplants
1/2 lime or other citrus fruit
kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup (green) onions or shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
2 large tomatoes, finely diced
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Slice eggplants lengthwise. Scoop out meat, leaving 1/2″ walls next to the skin. Squeeze lime or other citrus over eggplant boats to prevent browning. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Dice the eggplant meat and sauté with the onions or shallots over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook through, stirring frequently. When beef is finished, add in tomato, egg, cheese and bread crumbs. Mix in thoroughly.

Scoop filling into eggplant boats. Sprinkle with a light dusting of bread crumbs and top with more Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° F for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned on top. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4-6 stuffed eggplant halves.

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