Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eggplant Cushions

IMG_10164 by you.

2 eggplants (about 1 3/4 lbs total), each about 3-4 inches in diameter
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 oz leftover bread, preferably from a baguette, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 c. mixture chopped fresh chives and fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tsp virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Trim the eggplants, peel them, and cut them into thick slices, each about 1 1/4 inches thick. You should have about 8 slices.

3. Pour the canola oil on a large baking sheet, spreading it evenly. Press the eggplant slices in the oil and sprinkle them with half the salt. Turn the slices over, arrange them in one layer, and sprinkle with remaining salt.

4. Bake the eggplant slices in the 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the eggplant flesh is very soft.

5. Meanwhile, place the bread cubes, herbs, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor, and process for 15-20 seconds. Transfer the crumbled mixture to a bowl and toss it lightly with the olive oil. Once the eggplant slices are removed from the oven, spoon the crumbs on top of them.

6. About 10 minutes before serving time, preheat the broiler.

7. Place the eggplant slices so that the stuffing on top is at least 6-8 inches from the heat. Broil for 5-6 minutes until the topping is nicely browned. Serve immediately.

Cheats & Changes:
I did not have a baguette handy, so once again, I used leftover soda bread from the other night. I also totally forgot to peel the eggplant first, which was very dumb as I cannot stand eating the skin. I probably used twice as much oil on the pan as called for in the recipe since eggplant soaks that stuff up like a sponge.

The Verdict:
Much tastier than I thought it'd be. I loved the bread crumb topping. I had thought about subbing panko for the bread, and now I'm glad I didn't. I think the fresh bread made for a nicer texture. It was chewy and savory and garlicky good.

T is not normally a fan of eggplant at all, so I was really shocked that he ate both pieces on his plate. I suspected that he did it out of politeness, but he says he really liked it. Usually the texture of eggplant is what bothers him, not the flavor, and in this case the bread crumb topping made up for the softness of the eggplant.

Again, this recipe was very easy to make and slightly less boring than just broiling or grilling eggplant, which is usually what I do with it. Also a nice way to use up stale bread. I'll definitely make this again.

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