I grew up up eating meals of meat, potatoes and bread. The basics. Vegetables included peas (canned), corn and green beans. NO purple vegetables on our table. But it’s a brave new world. I can’t think of a vegetable I don’t love now and, in fact, enjoy meals that include NO meat, potatoes or bread. Tonight purple vegetables were what’s for dinner.
3 T olive oil
3-4 small eggplants
1 large onion diced
1 fennel bulb diced
1 cup diced baby portabellas
5-6 cloves of garlic minced
1 pint (14.5 oz can) diced tomatoes
2 T capers
1/2 cup asiago cheese grated
red pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper
1 cup homemade bread crumbs
1 T butter
Preheat oven to 375.
With a sharp knife halve the eggplants and, leaving a quarter inch or so of meat, hollow out the inside. Heat 2 T olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Sauté diced onion, fennel, mushrooms, eggplant and garlic until tender, 15-20 minutes.
Add tomatoes, pepper flakes, basil, capers and salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until the tomatoes have cooked down. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded asiago.
In a food processor prepare bread crumbs. After the bread crumbs are done add fresh parsley and pulse to incorporate parsley. Heat 1 T of butter over medium heat and toast the breadcrumbs.
I used individual casseroles but you can use one large casserole dish. Splash the remaining T of olive oil on the eggplant halves, season with salt and pepper, fill with the vegetable/tomato mixture and top each with some of the toasted bread crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes.
Enjoy! This is perfect for lunch with a tossed salad. Or for a heartier meal serve with sausage and peppers. You could also add fresh spinach, diced celery, sweet bell pepper. Substitute diced pitted kalamata olives for the capers and feta cheese for the asiago.
TIP: I like to add fresh herbs and/or garlic to my bread crumbs. The herbs add great flavor and color to the bread crumbs. Add them in after the bread cubes have been thoroughly processed so they become incorporated but don’t lose their integrity.