Low Country Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Roasted Eggplant over Stone Ground Grits Scented with Roasted Garlic and Sun Dried Tomatoes

8 young zucchini with blossoms attached
2 whole eggplants
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
4 shallots, chopped fine
salt to taste
fresh ground white pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
For the Grits:
1 1/2 T. unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup Charleston Grill stone ground grits
1 to 2 cups heavy cream
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
salt and fresh cracked white pepper to taste

Split eggplant in half lengthwise.

With skin on, brush the inside with olive oil, salt, and white pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until tender and completely cooked. With a spoon, scrap out the center of the eggplant and discard the skin.

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat 2 T. of olive oil and sweat the shallots and garlic without browning for 2 minutes.

Add the roasted eggplant, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

Cook on low heat for 15 minutes uncovered.

Remove the thyme and bay leaf.

Puree the eggplant mixture in a food processor and chill.

Fill a plastic pastry bag with the eggplant puree and fill the zucchini blossoms.

Rub the zucchini blossoms with warm butter so as not to dry out.

Bake for 7-8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Spoon grits in a soup bowl and arrange 2 stuffed zucchini per person on top of the grits.

Drizzle a small amount of the virgin olive oil over the top and serve.

For the Grits:
Bring the vegetable stock and butter to a boil in a thick-bottomed saucepan.

Stir in the grits and return to a boil.

Reduce the heat, allowed the grits to cook for another 15 minutes at a low boil, until the grits are thick and have absorbed most of the vegetable stock.

Stir occasionally to keep the grits from sticking.

Add 1/2 cup of the heavy cream to the pot and reduce the heat, allowing the grits to cook slowly for another 10 minutes.

As the liquid is absorbed, add more cream, cooking the grits until the desired consistency.

Add salt and pepper to taste with a total cooking time of at least an hour.

The grits should be thick and full-bodied.

Fold in the roasted garlic, thyme and diced tomatoes.

Bake in 350 degrees oven for 10 minutes.

Garnish with chopped chives.

Serve very hot!

Serves 4

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