Eggplant can fit into any budget and any palate, whether you stuff it with ground chuck, ground turkey, or for an elegant meal, stuff with lump crab meat.
• 4 medium eggplants • 1/4 lb. Fresh butter (the better the butter...the better this dish)
• 1 1/2 cup diced onion • 1 cup diced celery
• 1/2 cup diced green pepper • 1 cup diced green onion
• 2 teas. minced fresh basil • 1 teas. minced fresh oregano
• 2 teas. minced fresh garlic • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
• 1/4 cup cream • 1 tbls. chopped parsley
• 1lb. lump crab meat or 1 1/2 lbs. of ground chuck or ground turkey
Note: If you use crab meat, you will add after you mix in the eggplant. With an expensive ingredient such as lump crab meat you do not want to break it up or over-mix it in your dish. If you use ground beef or turkey, you will cook it until browned, drain the excess grease, and add it to the vegetable mixture.
Cut eggplants in half length-wise.
Lightly salt the bottom of a baking sheet and place the eggplant flat side down.
Place sheet pan with eggplant into 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes to roast.
In large saucepan add butter and turn on medium heat. Immediately add onion, celery, green pepper, green onion, basil, oregano, and garlic. Cook for 12-15 minutes until all vegetables are soft.
Remove eggplant from oven and let cool enough to handle. With a spoon, scoop out the inside of the eggplant, leaving the skin intact (like a boat) to stuff.
(See above) If you use ground meat, brown and add to vegetable mixture before you add the eggplant. If you use crab meat, add after the eggplant so you don't over mix the crab.
Add 1/4 cup of cream and 1 1/2 cups of fresh bread crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup bread crumbs to put on top.
Adjust seasonings--remember that you salted the eggplant. I like mine a little spicy so I add a touch of cayenne and black pepper.
Stuff the eggplant skins, evenly distributing the stuffing. I never have a problem stuffing all eight halves. It is fairly rich so a half is a good portion.
Top with fresh breadcrumbs and parsley. Put a pat of butter on top of each one before baking.
Cook at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. They should be hot all the way through and brown on top.