Stuffed Baby Eggplants (serves 4)
8 small eggplants (about 3 ounces each) 4-5 inches long
Peanut or canola oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion finely chopped
2 teaspoons peeled and finely chopped garlic
2 large tomatoes peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C.
2. Peel 3 strips about 1/3 inch wide down each eggplant so they have a stripped appearance. Rub generously with oil and salt and place in a baking dish. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 1 hour or until softened and cooked through.
3. While the eggplants are baking, make the filling. Put the olive oil in a frying pan and set over medium heat. When hot, put in the onion and garlic. Stir and cook for about 4 minutes until the garlic and onion have softened.
4. Put in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 7 to 8 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and the liquid has thickened. Add the parsley, stir once, and turn off the heat.
5. Remove the eggplants from the oven and arrange prettily in a serving dish. When cooled a bit, cut a pocket in each eggplant this way: starting 1/4 inch from the top, cut a long slit that stops 1/4 inch from the bottom. The slit should be deep but not go all the way through. To widen the slit, push the eggplant very gently from the top and the bottom towards the center.
6. Ladle 1/8 of the filling into each pocket. Serve hot or chilled.