This was supposed to be an end of summer masterpiece. Sometimes when you build a recipe up in your head and predict it will be fabulous, it can’t possibly meet your expectations. It started when I bought another $1 eggplant from a stand at the Brookline Farmer’s Market. Last year, I made zucchini boats which were kind of neat, so this time I figured I’d try stuffed eggplant. I read through a bunch of different recipes like this one, and then gave it a go using the ingredients I had on hand.
The end result wasn’t inedible, it was just boring. I felt like I was eating stuffing out of a theoretically edible bowl. I say ‘theoretically edible’ because the eggplant shell still wasn’t very soft after an hour in the oven, and I had to scrape it with my fork to remove the flesh. Although the eggplant looks reasonably pretty when it comes out of the oven, things go downhill pretty fast when you try to cut each shell into pieces. So unless you’re going for initial presentation, actually stuffing the eggplant seems like a waste of time. The filling itself did taste pretty good, but required even more salt and pepper in my dish. None of the flavors were dominant, and the dish really needed a strong herb to give it some character.
So why am I sharing this recipe at all? Because either you’ll, a) use this information to create a much better version of stuffed eggplant or, b) decide to use your eggplant in other ways. Maybe Grilled Balsamic Eggplant Sandwiches?
1 T olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and diced
1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves torn and stems chopped, divided
1 large eggplant
6-7 white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 c. cooked brown rice
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Cook shallot for 3-5 minutes, until just starting to brown. Add Swiss chard stems, and cook until softened.
Meanwhile, halve eggplant, and scoop out the insides, leaving a 1/2″ shell. Chop the eggplant pieces, and add to the frying pan. Cook until softened, and then add the mushrooms and Swiss chard leaves. When all of the vegetables are done, remove the pan from heat. Add brown rice and almonds, and season generously with salt and pepper.
Place eggplant shells in a glass dish. Fill with vegetable/rice mixture. Cover tightly with foil, and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes.