Little Boats: Melanzane Ripiene

Just like Chinese, Italian people love aubergine. They love them fried, baked, grilled or stirred on the pan. Among the countless preparations involving aubergines, one of the most loved one is filled aubergines (ok, probably it comes right after Parmigiana), extremely popular in Southern Italy (from Naples to Siracusa). As for many Italian recipes, the preparation is quite easy. Nevertheless it is the ingredients that actually make the difference. It is obviously hard to find certain ingredients outside of Italy, but the fresh market will have all you need. So, here is the recipe.

dsc_6454Ingredients:

  • 2 long aubergines from Naples:) (laughing…since we are living in Germany after all)

Vegetarian Version:

  • 50 gr. ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 25 gr. capers
  • 50 gr. olives (we love the black ones) without kernel
  • 1 piece of garlic
  • breadcrumbs
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Meat Version:
  • 200 gr. of minced beef meat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 piece of garlic
  • breadcrumbs
  • 50 gr. parmesan (Grana Padano)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

First thing first, let’s take care of the aubergines. Cut the aubergines in half and with a spoon remove the pulp. Since aubergines may contain an irritating substance, it is advisable to keep them for 20-30 minutes covered with salt (big grain possibly).

Let the side with the pulp face the bottom of the colander and put a heavy wait to assert pressure. A black liquid will come out from the aubergines and they are ready to be cooked.

Turn on the oven and preheat it until it reaches 180 degrees. With a brush spread olive oil all over the aubergines and on the baking pan and put them in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile cut the pulp into small pieces and cook it in a pan with garlic and olive oil. Stir it for a couple of minutes and take it out of the fire.

Add olives, capers and cherry tomatoes cut in 4. Add some breadcrumbs and mix evenly. Lastly add basil, cutting it with your hands (never cut basil with knives or scissors, because it would be oxidised by the blade). Keep some basil aside for later.

Add salt an pepper according to your preference and taste.

In another pan put garlic and olive oil and add the minced meat. Keep it cook for 5 minutes, then take it out of the fire and let it cool down for other 5 minutes.

Add parmesan, breadcrumbs, one egg, salt and pepper and mix the filling. Keep some parmesan for later.

Add salt and pepper.

Our aubergines should be already well roasted. Take them out of the oven and let them cool down for 10 minutes. When they are cold, add the filling (vegetarian and meat) and put them back in the oven for 15 minutes. Add some parmesan on the meat ones, so that it will create a nice crunchy crust at the end. After that, grill them for 5 minutes.

After taking them out from the oven let them cool down for about 15-30 minutes so that the Parmesan and the egg will keep the filling together and the flavour of the aubergine will be exalted.

dsc_6479Buon appetito!

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