Eggplant with Mushroom Stuffing (version II)

2 to 2 1/2 pounds small or medium eggplants, unpeeled
Duxelles (recipe below)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
cayenne pepper or bottled hot pepper sauce to taste
3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil or butter
1 small shallot or green onion, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Halve the eggplants lengthwise. With a sharp knife, score the flesh of each half lightly to make a border about 3/8 inch from skin. Score center of each half lightly 3 times (so heat penetrates more evenly). Sprinkle cut surface with salt. Place eggplants in a lightly oiled roasting pan or shallow baking dish, cut side up. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes, or until flesh is tender when pierced with a knife. Let cool slightly.

Cut each eggplant gently along scored border and remove pulp carefully with a spoon without piercing skin. Put eggplant shells in an oiled gratin dish. Chop eggplant flesh. Mix with duxelles and stir in garlic, parsley, and cayenne pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Spoon stuffing into eggplant shells. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, then with oil. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until eggplant is hot. If bread crumbs have not browned in that time, brown for a few seconds in broiler. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings as appetizer, side dish, or light main course

For Duxelles
Chop mushrooms in a food processor with pulsing motion so they are chopped in fine pieces but are not pureed. In a medium skillet, heat oil over low heat, add shallot, and sauté about 1/2 minute until soft but not brown. Add mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture is dry. (Duxelles can be kept, cover, 2 days in refrigerator.)

Makes about 1 cup

From Faye Levy’s wonderful book International Vegetable Cookbook

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