Lisl found herself missing authentic Greek food this weekend, and we had picked up some lovely young eggplants at the farm on Sunday. What she really wanted was Papoutsakia, which has ground beef and cheese, however there hadn’t been any time to pick up meat at the supermarket so I went vegetarian. I found a recipe on Epicurious that I modified to my needs, and was happy with the net results.
3 small to medium eggplants
2 large handfuls of fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, chopped into small cubes
1/2 cup of black kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped or cut into thin strips
1 yellow or vidalia onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and score them in a crisscross fashion with a sharp knife, making sure not to cut all the way through to the skin. I used a metal teaspoon to scoop out the meat in the middle of the eggplants, making sure not to dig too close to the skin, and creating little eggplant “boats” (the scoring makes it easier to scoop the meat out and helps define the thickness of the edges).
Lightly salt the flesh side of the boats and place down on some paper towel to drain for about 20 minutes. Chop up the scooped eggplant, salt and let drain in a colander for 20 minutes. Then try to pick up any extra moisture with a paper towel.
Lightly coat the top of the eggplant boats with olive oil and either grill (face down) or broil (face up) the eggplant for about 5 minutes, being careful not to burn them. Then in a skillet, add several tablespoons of olive oil and cook the chopped eggplant until golden Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are almost translucent. Turn off the heat and add the tomatoes, parsley, feta and olives. Salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture seems too dry, add a touch of water to moisten it up, since it will dry some when baked.
If your kalamata olives are not pitted, smash each one with the flat side of your chopping knife (kind of like peeling garlic). This should make it pretty easy to remove the pit with your fingers.
In a baking dish, fill each boat with a hefty portion of the stuffing and if you want, drizzle a tiny bit more virgin olive oil on top. Now the Epicurious recipe calls for broiling the dish for another 5 minutes, however I found that the eggplant boats needed to cook (melt) a little more, so I would recommend baking for 15 minutes at 350F before turning on the broiler for a few minutes at the very end.
We ate these with some fresh corn and it was quite satisfying, although with more time it would have been fun to add some other Greek elements to the plate.