recipe, eggplant, stuffed, baby eggplant

Recipe: Stuffed Baby Eggplant

These fun-size nightshades are baba ghanoush reimagined.

At some point in the near future, you will be invited to your first cookout of the year. The host will ask what you want to bring. Make this stuffed baby eggplant the dish from the new cookbook Sirocco: Fabulous Flavors from the Middle East by Sabrina Ghayour. It's simple to execute (all that's left to clean is a bowl and some utensils), pleasing to the eye and palette, and uses eggplant, which research done on animals at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine suggests has cardioprotective properties. If you are bringing these little purple wonders to a gathering, let the host know you'll need the oven and complete step four on site for maximum deliciousness.  

Ingredients

  • 8 4-to-5-inch baby eggplants
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tsp tahini
  • Small handful cilantro (about ½ oz), finely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and juice of ½ lemon
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  

  2. Leaving the stems intact, slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and lay them on the parchment paper. Using a pastry brush, brush olive oil on the eggplant. Roast until eggplant begin to soften, 25 to 30 minutes; remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. 

  3. Using a teaspoon, carefully scoop out as much flesh as you can from each eggplant half without breaking the skin. Place the pulp into a small bowl and combine with 2 to 3 tsp tahini, chopped cilantro, garlic, zest and juice, and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

  4. Increase oven temperature to 425°. Spoon eggplant-tahini mixture into eggplant skins, compressing and filling gently. Return stuffed eggplant to the baking sheet and roast until golden brown, 12 minutes. Serve warm, sprinkled with seeds and remaining cilantro.

Reprinted from SIROCCO: FABULOUS FLAVORS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST. Copyright ©2016 by Sabrina Ghayour. Photos by Haarala Hamilton. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.