Baked Eggplant (version V)

(3 votes)

olive oil, for cooking
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
small pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 small eggplants
4 small tomatoes, stems removed
1 cup shredded gruyere or swiss cheese

Preheat the oven to 300F.

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat a little oil over medium heat, add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, without coloring. Add the diced tomato and garlic, season with salt and cayenne pepper and simmer for 15 minutes, or until thick. Mix in the chopped basil, set aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Score the flesh, being careful not to cut through the skin. Rub the surface with olive oil and season with salt. Place the eggplant cut-side-down in a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool.

Increase the temperature of the oven to 400F degrees. Cut the small tomatoes in half from top to bottom and thinly slice into semicircles. Set aside.

Carefully scoop out the flesh of the cooked eggplant. Set the empty skins aside. Chop up the pulp and remove some of the liquid by cooking in a skillet for 5-10 minutes over low heat.

Transfer the eggplant pulp to a bowl and mix in half of the cooked tomato. Season and then spoon the mixture into the eggplant skins. Return the filled eggplant to the baking dish and arrange the tomato slices on top. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese and bake until golden brown.

Puree the remaining cooked tomato in a blender. Dilute if necessary with some water or chicken stock. Place in small sauce pan and heat through, checking the seasoning. To serve, spoon some of the tomato sauce onto the plate and arrange the eggplant on top.

This recipe serves: 4

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