Eggplants, or aubergines in French, can sometimes taste bitter but they do develop a rich flavor as they slowly cook. They are especially good when stewed, in ratatouille for instance, or broiled over an open flame to make baba ghanoush. In this recipe, I first roast them, then mix their pulp with tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, herbs and cheese. Top with breadcrumbs and pop them back in the oven to brown. Using the eggplant shells makes for a nice presentation.
Feta adds tang and body to the stuffing. However, if you are not a big fan, you can substitute any milder cheese such as shredded Parmesan or mozzarella, or skip it altogether for a vegan alternative.
For a true vegetarian dinner, serve with rice pilaf or a green salad tossed in balsamic vinaigrette. Or, if you must have meat, serve the stuffed eggplants as a side dish to grilled chicken breasts or pork tenderloin.
- 2 medium eggplants = 2 aubergines
- Olive oil = huile d'olive
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 ½ cups) = 1 oignon, émincé (environ 150-175 g)
- 1 large bell pepper, any color, finely chopped (about 1 ¼ cups) = 1 gros poivron, coupé en morceaux
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced (about 1 ¼ cups) = 2 tomates, coupé en dés
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano = ¼ cuillère à café d'origan séché
- 2 garlic cloves, minced = 2 gousses d'ail, émincées
- ¾ cup (3 oz.) crumbled feta cheese =85 g de feta émiettée
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley = quelques feuilles de persil plat, ciselées
- Salt (optional) & freshly ground black pepper = sel (facultatif) et poivre noir moulu
- 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs (regular or panko) = 4 cuillère à soupe de chapelure
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise. Score cut sides by making 4 crosswise cuts. Place the eggplant halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet sprayed with a little olive oil. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove pulp and reserve eggplant shells.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°F/180°C.
Heat two teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in the eggplant pulp, bell pepper, tomato (and their juice), oregano, and garlic; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until all liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, parsley, salt (if using), and black pepper. Divide veggie mixture into four equal portions and stuff each eggplant shell, sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet or dish and bake at 350° for 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Enjoy!