Late Summer Stuffed Aubergines
- 2 medium aubergines, split in half lengthwise
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 anchovies
- 12 olives, pitted and chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped herbs such as parsley, marjoram or oregano
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 300-400g lamb mince
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup finely grated cheese - parmesan, tasty or even crumbled feta
- 1/4 teaspoon dried mint
- 1 teaspoon sumac, optional
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Use a spoon to scoop out the insides of the aubergine halves, leaving a good sturdy shell. Place on a baking tray. Reserve the aubergine flesh and chop roughly.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the aubergine flesh, onion, anchovies, olives, herbs and tomatoes to the pan.
Cook for 5-10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring regularly until soft and fragrant. Remove from the pan. Turn up the heat and add the lamb mince to the pan. Cook until brown.
Mix lamb with the cooked vegetables and spoon into the aubergine shells.
Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, mint and sumac, if using, and sprinkle over the top of the filled shells.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden and piping hot.
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes
Don't be alarmed if it looks as if you have too much aubergine flesh here. It cooks down to a remarkably small yet delicious sauce. Also don't be fussy with which cheese you use - I think any would work. Next time I am going to try layering in spoonfuls of ricotta or chunks of buffalo mozzarella.
I think most people know by now that aubergines no longer need to be salted and left to disgorge (unless you are growing a heritage variety), as most of the bitterness has been bred out. Disgorging can still be used to discourage the aubergine from soaking up so much oil. However, the soaking up of liquids and therefore of flavour is in my opinion one of the aubergine's best qualities. Cook it with great-tasting oil and delicious vegetables, and your dish will have well-married flavours and will never dry out.