Spicy kale stuffing enhances eggplant

Try This At Home

September 17, 2006|By Amy Scattergood | Amy Scattergood,LOS ANGELES TIMES

The addition of stuffing creates layers -- of flavors and textures, of color and form -- that add new dimension to vegetables. The gorgeous longboats of purple Chinese eggplants get a faintly Middle Eastern treatment: here, a stuffing of walnuts and black kale flavored with cumin and pomegranate molasses. The walnuts give both structure and a nutty depth, and the spice notes provide intricacy; together, they allow the dish to play off the classic Mediterranean mezze muhammara, a creamy walnut and eggplant dip.

Amy Scattergood wrote this article for the Los Angeles Times, which provided the recipe analysis.


Makes 4 servings

4 Chinese eggplants

1 tablespoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, minced

4 cups chopped black kale (lacinto) shallots, minced

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Quarter the eggplants lengthwise, keeping the stem end intact. Carve out about one-half inch lengthwise along the inside of each quarter, leaving one-quarter inch of flesh intact. Chop the eggplant pieces that you've removed and sprinkle them and the interiors of the whole eggplants with the salt. Let sit 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic, shallots and kale and saute until fragrant and wilted, about 5 minutes. Squeeze water out of the chopped eggplant and add the eggplant to the saute pan along with the pomegranate molasses and cumin; continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the walnuts; remove from the heat.

Pat the eggplants dry and fill the cavities with the stuffing; reassemble the quarters and tie with kitchen twine. In a large saute pan, heat the remaining olive oil, add the tied eggplants and saute on all sides until golden.

Add one-half cup water, cover the pan tightly and remove from the heat. Let sit, covered, for an hour.

After an hour, remove the eggplants from the pan, untie and serve, either sliced or whole. (Total time: 50 minutes, plus 1 hour resting time.)

Per serving: 371 calories; 8 grams protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 31 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 455 milligrams sodium .

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