June 29, 2007

Zucchini and Rice Stuffed Eggplant

2 eggplants, sliced longways
1 onion, minced
1 zucchini, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 1/2 cup prepared rice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
additional olive oil

optional: parmesan or asiago cheese for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350. Using a ice cream scoop, scoop out the insides of the eggplant, leaving a 1/2 to 1/4 inch border around all edges. Discard the pulp. Sprinkle with salt and place open side down on a paper towel for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the tablespoon of oil in a pan and saute the onion, carrots and zucchini. When the eggplant is ready, pat dry. Brush the skin with olive oil and broil* until just tender, about 5 minutes. Carefully remove from the broiler and place on a baking sheet or casserole. Add the thyme and the rice to the sauteed vegetables and cook 1 minute. Stuff the eggplant and top with a sprinkling of cheese (if desired). Bake for 5 minutes or until the filling has heated through.

*You could grill the eggplant instead.

My thoughts:
This really came about as a way to use up some rapidly deteriorating ingredients-leftover yellow rice from burrito making, a lone zucchini) I had in the fridge. There are a few steps that might seem silly but they are worth it. Salting and draining the eggplant keeps it from getting soggy and the quick trip to the broiler insures that the eggplant will be tender and cooked through, without having to bake the stuffed eggplant (and possibly drying the filling out in the process) for a long period of time.