Eggplant Stuffed with Scamorza Cheese

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6 Japanese or small Italian eggplants (total about 1 1/2 pounds), unpeeled
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
5 ounces scamorza cheese (available at Italian markets or specialty cheese shops), trimmed of rind
2 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and each cut in 6 slices
3 large hard-boiled large eggs, ends trimmed and each cut crosswise in 4 slices

Cut off green eggplant caps and halve eggplants lengthwise. Using a sharp knife, cut around each eggplant half about 1/4 inch from its edge, outlining a ¼-inch-thick shell. Scoop out center pulp with a teaspoon without piercing skin, leaving a ¼-inch-thick shell. Chop pulp fine.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Add onion and sauté over low heat, stirring often for 10 minutes or until soft but not brown. Stir in eggplant pulp and a pinch of salt and pepper, followed by the chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook over low heat for 25 minutes, or until eggplant is very tender. Stir in parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat; let cool.

Cut cheese into 12 sticks about 1/2 inch thick, 1 inch wide, and 3 inches long. Cut plum tomatoes into thin crosswise slices; gently poke out their seeds.

Lightly oil a large, shallow baking dish. Arrange eggplant shells in dish in 1 layer with cut side up. Brush them with 1 tablespoon oil Bake 15 minutes or until tender when pierced with point of a knife.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon filling into each eggplant shell. Put 1 stick of cheese in each shell. Place an egg slice on top of cheese. Divide remaining filling among shells, spreading it to cover cheese and egg. Top each stuff eggplant with a plum tomato slice. Sprinkle tomatoes with remaining tablespoon oil. (Eggplant can be kept, covered, 1 day in refrigerator.) Bake eggplants for 10 to 15 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve hot.

Makes 6 appetizer or 2 or 3 main-course servings

From Faye Levy’s wonderful book International Vegetable Cookbook

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