- 2 medium eggplants, stems trimmed and halved
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onions
- 1/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 cup plain fine bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
- 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
- 1/2 pound boiled small river shrimp
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 large bunches curly parsley, washed and spun dry, tough stems removed
- 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the eggplants until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, leaving 1/2-inch shells. Place the shells on a baking sheet and chop the pulp.
In a large deep saute pan, heat the 5 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant pulp and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, green onions, garlic, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until the mixture is very soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the Essence.
Add the crabmeat, shrimp, parsley, and thyme to the vegetable mixture, being careful not to break up the crabmeat. Add 3/4 cup of the seasoned bread crumbs and 1/4 cup of the cheese and stir gently to combine. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Add the beaten eggs and mix to combine. Stuff the mixture into the eggplant shells. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup cheese, and 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle over the tops of the eggplants. Bake until heated through and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Pat the parsley completely dry on paper towels. Add in batches to the oil and fry until crisp but not browned, about 40 seconds. Remove and drain on paper towels and lightly season with salt.
Remove the stuffed eggplants from the oven and place on 4 large plates. Garnish with the fried parsley and serve.
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.