You can call these vegetables brinjals, eggplants, aubergines or what ever else but one thing is for sure: it is such a versatile and wonderful vegetable to eat and cook with!
Brinjals can be battered and deep fried (still one of my favourite ways to eat them), prepared as part of a Turkish moussaka or part of a French Ratatouille! It can be filled or rolled or eaten as a spread as in Baba ganoush.
This recipe was given to me by one of my customers at the coffee shop, a Greek lady. She and her husband ran a highly successful nursery in Gauteng and then retired in Bloubergstrand. They visited my coffee shop regularly and she taught me how to make this and requested me to put it on the menu. I decided against it because the dish needs some pampering to ensure that the eggs are not overcooked (like I did here!!). I asked her to rather phone me in advance if she wanted me to make this for them. Once she phoned I would run around like grazy to get all the ingredients and to prepare it for them! They were however always so appreciative, that it was all worth my while!!
This recipe serves 1 to 2 people, depending on their appetite. I changed the recipe slightly over the years.
1 brinjal, sliced lengthwise
45ml olive oil
½ an onion, very finely chopped
4 white mushrooms, chopped
2 baby marrows, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 babyRosatomatoes or 1 medium sized tomato (chopped)
25ml tomato paste
salt and freshly grounded black pepper
5ml fresh chopped parsley
5ml fresh chopped thyme
5ml fresh chopped oreganum
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC.
Heat 30ml of the olive oil in a large pan. Score the flesh of the brinjals and place flesh-side down into the pan. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 8 minutes. Turn around and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the pan and keep separate to cool down slightly.
Add the remaining 15ml olive oil to the same pan and fry the chopped onion for 2 minutes until soft.
Add the mushrooms and baby marrows and fry until browned.
Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds and then add the tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar.
Scoop out the flesh of the brinjals and add to the mushroom mixture with the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
Divide the stuffing between the brinjals halves and make a small hole in the middle.
Break an egg into each and bake in a pre-heated oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until the eggs are cooked.
Serve immediately with a salad on the side.