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Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Here is one of the many ways eggplants are stuffed in the Campania and Basilicata regions. The method is probably one of the simplest for stuffing vegetables because the eggplant pulp is not removed. Instead, the flesh is scored and a savory bread crumb mixture is worked into the slashes; the remaining crumb mixture is then spread on top before baking. The eggplants should be small, tender ones. Either small globular Italian eggplants or the comparatively seedless slender Japanese eggplants can be used.
Leave the skins on the eggplants, but trim off and discard the stems and navels. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Make slashes about 1 inch deep in their flesh on the cut sides and sprinkle them with salt. Place the halves cut sides down in a colander. Place the colander in the sink or over a dish and let stand so the bitter liquid drains out of the seeds, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Rinse the eggplant under cold water and pat dry thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel. In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, oregano, parsley, the 1 tablespoon olive oil, and olives. Using your fingers, work as much of the mixture as you can into the slashes in the eggplant halves. Spread any remaining mixture on top of the eggplants. Place the eggplant halves cut sides up on the foil-lined sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven until completely tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 20 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Nutrients per serving (% daily value)
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving, and includes 1 tablespoon of olive oil drizzled on the eggplant.