Stuffed Baby Eggplant
- 8 baby eggplants, about the size of a lemon
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 shallots, minced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 3 large vine-ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, reserve some for garnish
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 lemon, sliced paper-thin
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a paring knife, cut a wedge out of each eggplant, from stem to base, just large enough to stick a spoon inside and scoop out the flesh inside. Discard the flesh you scoop out.
Coat a large saute pan with the oil and place over medium flame. Lightly fry the eggplants on all sides, until slightly charred and blistered; remove to a platter and set aside.
Return the pan to the heat and add the shallots and garlic, saute for 5 minutes, until soft and golden brown. Add the ground lamb to the pan and brown the meat well, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Stir in the tomatoes, combine well, and let simmer for 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Toss in a couple of handfuls of the parsley, the mint, and lemon juice; continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the stuffing cool slightly. Using a spoon, stuff the lamb filling into the eggplants until they feel full, but not overly packed.
Arrange the eggplants in a single layer in a large saucepan, pour the chicken stock over them and lay the lemon slices on top of each eggplant, drizzle with some more olive oil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until fork tender. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.
Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence