Eggplant with Mushroom Stuffing

2 medium eggplants
1/6 cup olive oil, or vegetable spray
1 small shallot, minced
2/3 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and finely chopped
freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/6 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
cayenne pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450.

Halve eggplants lengthwise. Score the flesh of each half lightly to make a border about 3/8 inch from the skin. Score center of each half lightly three times to allow heat to penetrate. Sprinkle cut surface with salt. Place eggplants, cut side up, on a lightly sprayed sheet pan and bake until flesh is tender, 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, spray vegetable oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add shallots and sauté about 30 seconds until soft but not brown. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring continuously, until mixture is dry, 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Cut each eggplant gently along scored border and remove pulp carefully with a spoon without piercing skin. Put shells in large, oiled gratin dish. Chop eggplant flesh. Mix with mushroom stuffing and stir in garlic, parsley and cayenne pepper. (Or, just throw it all in the food processor!)

Spoon stuffing into eggplant shells. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, then mist with vegetable spray or drizzle with oil, if desired. Bake until hot, 10-15 minutes. If bread crumbs have not browned, run under a broiler for a few seconds. Serve hot.

Optional: sprinkle with Parmesan or nonfat pizza cheese.



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