Eggplant Stuffed with Smoky Tomato Ratatouille
Serves four as a main course
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 jumbo eggplants
- 4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 small onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or microplaned
- 16 oil-packed anchovies
- 1 Tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
- 2 medium zucchini, in ½ inch dice
- 4 Roma tomatoes (plum tomatoes) in ½ inch dice
- Salt to taste
- Grated parmigiano (optional)
In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the breadcrumbs, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400.
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Heat a heavy saute pan over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sear the cut sides of the eggplant until well browned. Transfer to a baking pan and place in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove eggplant from the oven and let cool, leaving the oven on.
While the eggplant is baking, add the onion, garlic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and saute over high heat until onion softens. Add the anchovies and paprika and cook for 30 seconds to flavor the oil. Then add the zucchini and cook for about 4 minutes without stirring. Next, add the tomatoes and cook until they break down, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt. Place the tomato mixture in a medium bowl with the breadcrumbs/
When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, scoop out the insides, chop them, and add to the bowl. When scraping the eggplant halves, leave enough flash on the inside so the outer skin does not collapse. Season the eggplant hulls with salt. Stir the vegetable mixture well and use it to stuff the eggplant hulls. Return the stuffed eggplants to the oven for 10 minutes to heat the stuffing through. Then increase the heat to broil and cook about 4 inches from the heat source until tops are browned and beginning to char (about 3 minutes).
Drizzle the eggplant halves with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and, optionally, dust with grated parmigiano.