THINGS I LIKE: Mediterranean Stuffed Eggplant


Those who read my blog know the " THINGS I LIKE" posts present recipes for dishes  that I, personally,  like to prepare and eat. Some recipes I have developed myself while others have been given to me by family members, friends or were from recipes I found in cookbooks, food magazines or on line. In each case where I have presented a recipe not my own, have credited the source of the recipe. The recipe for the following  delicious stuffed eggplant dish came from Cooks.com recipe search, under the heading of "Mediterranean Stuffed Eggplant". Go there to see the original recipe. What I present below, began with that recipe but contains all the "tweaks" that I have added to the original, to make the the dish  mine in terms of the flavor profiles that suit my taste.

INGREDIENTS   (ITALIAN FLAVOR)
2 eggplants, cut in half lengthwise
2 lb ground beef
8 sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
1 onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste concentrate*
1/2 C ,each,  bread crumbs (I use Panko - Japanese bread crumbs) and Romano or Parmesan cheese.
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  
Scoop out some of the eggplant from the center of each half and finely dice. Mix all ingredients except crumbs and cheese and mound, evenly, onto the eggplant halves. Mix bread crumbs and cheese and sprinkle over filling.

Place eggplant halves on an oiled sheet pan and bake , uncovered, in a 350 F oven for 1 hour.

Serve as is or with store bought or home made tomato sauce.

(GREEK OR MIDDLE EASTERN FLAVOR)

The  recipe above can be made to reflect Greek or Middle Eastern flavors, as well, with the following
Substitutions:

 Lamb for beef
4 tsp tomato paste* for sun dried tomatoes
omit pine nuts
 1/2 tsp, each, cinnamon. nutmeg, ground cumin and coriander for oregano
1 Tbsp mint for parsley
grated feta cheese for Romano/Parmesan

Prepare and serve. as above.

*Concentrated tomato paste comes in tubes similar to toothpaste.It is very convenient and easyn to use, While many brands are available, I have found the Amore brand to be excellent.