For the past month or so, eggplants are in abundance at the farmer's market's in the twin cities. They come in many different shapes, colors and sizes. And it follows that each variety works best in certain dishes. Most are some shade of purple but you can now find green and even white varieties. For roasting and making dips, I prefer the larger Italian and purple bell varieties. And for stuffing, I find that the small, dark purple, egg-shaped Indian variety, also known as baby eggplant, works best. Because of their size, they cook faster and throughly without being over done and make serving more manageable.
The stuffing in this recipe is essentially mashed cumin potatoes from the post Cumin (Geera) Potatoes. However, since potatoes take on the flavor of whatever is added to it so well, you can probably substitute garlic or sun-dried tomatoes for the scallions here.
Stuffed Baby Eggplant
Serves 4 to 5
8 to 10 baby eggplant
1 1/2 to 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground chili peppers (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1. Using a damp paper towel, wipe the eggplants clean. Place one eggplant on a cutting board and cut horizontally down the middle stopping half inch before the stem. Rotate the eggplant ninety degrees and make another horizontal cut down the middle. What you have now is a criss-cross cut down the eggplant, separating it into four segments connected at the base. Repeat this step for the remaining eggplants. Lightly brush the insides of each with olive oil. Set aside until ready to stuff.
2. Boil the potatoes in enough water to cover them, until fork tender. Drain and mash until smooth. Set aside
3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute or two until light golden. Add the cumin and cook for additional two minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add the mashed potatoes, stirring well to combine the seasonings. Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped scallions.
4. Fill each eggplant with two tablespoons of the potato mixture, cleaning up any that sticks on the outside.
5. Return the skillet or another large pot to medium high heat, add three tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom, and place the eggplant in single layer. If they can't fit in a single layer, do two batches. Cook on each side for three minutes.