Have you heard of The Silver Spoon? According to my Sicilian friend, it is the best cookbook for everything Italian. According to me, it is the best cookbook, period. I have yet to be disappointed by anything I've tried. That is not to say that all recipes are equal. Some are better than others, but all are good. Since eggplant is in season, I have been perusing the "melanzane" section searching until my mouth waters the most. I found myself drooling over this eggplant recipe today. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Roast Eggplant with Ricotta
from the Silver Spoon
1 cup dried mushrooms (I used dried porcini mushrooms)
olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
4 small eggplants, halved lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprig, chopped
2/3 cup ricotta cheese (do yourself a favor and use the full fat ricotta!)
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
pinch of dried oregano
2 salted anchovies, cleaned, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained, and chopped
salt and pepper
1. put mushrooms in a bowl, add hot water to cover, and let soak for 30 minutes.
2. preheat oven to 350°F, brush an ovenproof dish with oil and set aside.
3. Scoop out the flesh from the eggplants into a bowl--you don't have to scoop all the flesh out, you can leave a little so the "shell" holds its shape.
4. Cook the shells in salted boiling water for about 8-10 minutes, remove with slotted spoon and place upside down on a plate covered with either paper towels or a dishtowel to catch the moisture.
5. Add half the eggplant flesh to the same boiling water, cook for a few minutes, then drain, squeeze out and mix with the garlic and parsely.
6. Combine the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, and oregano in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, then stire in the eggplant and garlic mixture. (you will have to find another use for the unused eggplant, sorry!)
7. Drain and squeeze out the mushrooms, chop them with the anchovies and stir into the mixture.
8. Spoon the mixture into the eggplant shells, place in the prepared dish, drizzle with olive oil.
9. Bake for 40-50 minutes, basting occasionally with the cooking juices. Serve hot.
10. I didn't have any cooking juices, so I didn't baste. And I broiled the dish until nice and golden and crispy on top, about 4 minutes. You don't have to broil it if you don't want to.
I served it with fresh heirloom tomatoes seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Yummy!