Does anyone else get tired of the same foods over and over again? Does the idea of another hamburger, chicken breast, pork chop or bowl of pasta make you feel ambivalent about dinner tonight? If you answered yes, than you are in the same boat I was in. It seemed like dinner was just becoming a repeat performance and I became bored. Enter the eggplant…
I had an eggplant which needed to be used. As I was about to make another pan of eggplant parmagiana, I thought there must be something else to do with this. I knew I had some shrimp in the freezer (they were going to become shrimp cocktail) and a leftover lemon in the refrigerator which I knew would end up going bad, so I decided to experiment…and this is what I came up with.
Since I had my deadline coming up, I decided to take pictures and write down what I did, just in case it came out tasting good I could use it for my column. Well, you’re reading about it, so it must have come out good! Actually, not only did it come out tasting delicious, it looks “good enough for company.” See it here with the rice served on top, molded with an ice cream scoop.
This turned out to be quick and easy, tasty and great looking on a plate! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!
Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ medium bell pepper, chopped (any color you desire)
- 1 cup medium raw shrimp, peeled & deveined (reserve the shells and tails if you’re making shrimp stock)
- ¼ cup dry white wine (or shrimp stock)
- 1 lemon (juice and zest)
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs (as needed)
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
- Make your shrimp stock (if using). Simply sauté your shrimp shells and tails in a tablespoon of butter until cooked through (about 2 minutes). Add ½ cup of water and simmer until reduced by half. Strain, discarding the used shells and reserving the stock.
- Cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise, leaving the stem intact. The shells will become a serving vessel.
- Make a shallow cut (about ½ inch deep) around the outside of the eggplant’s flesh, about ¼ inch away from the shell. Then make criss-cross cuts through the flesh of the eggplant to within ¼ inch of the shell on the bottom.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the cubes of eggplant pulp. You’ll need to use the edge of the spoon to “cut” out where the flesh is still attached at the bottom. Don’t worry if you cut through the flesh…the eggplant police will not show up at your door. Remember, the shells are just for serving.
- Place the hollowed shells in a baking dish and place in a 350° oven while preparing the stuffing. You want them to lose some of their water.
- Using a large skillet, sauté onion and bell pepper in a little oil until tender, but not browned. Add minced garlic and continue sautéing for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add the eggplant pulp and cook for just a minute. Add wine (or stock) and juice and zest of the lemon and bring to a simmer.
- Add shrimp and cook until just done. DO NOT OVERCOOK!
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the mint and stir in.
- Stir in breadcrumbs, a little at a time…just enough to absorb the liquid in the pan, but not dry it out. Remove from heat.
- Stuff the baked shells with the eggplant/shrimp mixture. Sprinkle each with shredded Swiss cheese.
- Bake in the preheated 350° oven for about 15 minutes. Serve with rice. ENJOY!