Stuffed and Roasted Eggplant
Tomorrow will be year 5772 for many people all around the world. It will be the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Whilst the holiday marks the New Year and the creation of the world, on an individual level, it calls for a spring cleaning of the soul to make room for a fresh start.
Of course, every festivity calls for a banquet of sorts but Rosh Hashanah takes it up a notch. There is visual beauty and a grand selection on the table but those are mere vehicles of the symbolism they represent. To name a few: Apples and honey represent a sweet year. The head of a fish is for you to live like a head and not a tail, in other words, to live like a leader.
“New Fruit”, a fruit that has just come in to season, is a moment to thank god for keeping us alive and bringing us in to a new season.
Pomegranate denotes a year of ‘plentiful’
So exactly how is this food prepared? As I was very surprised to hear from my friend Yasman that Jewish food is very diverse all over the world. Afterall, there are Jewish communities all over the world, such as Europe, Africa, The Middle East and Asia. Yasman explained the differences one could expect to see in an Ashkenazi spread of delights and a sweet and spicy Sephardic spread, much of which reflects their respective cultures and geographic resources.
Today’s dish borrows from the Sephardic traditions which come from Spain, North Africa and the Middle East. It is a stuffed eggplant that has been roasted, caramelized, stuffed and spiced with harissa.
4 medium sized eggplants
1 medium sized onion, diced
1 bay leaf
4 cloves of garlic, minced
12oz cremini mushrooms
¼ tsp of cumin powder
1 tblsp harissa (store bought from your local ethnic store or Whole foods)
Handful of chopped parsley
10 quartered cherry tomatoes
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2) Slice the eggplant in half and scoop out the center, chop up the flesh and set aside
3) Rub oil on the eggplant and place in the oven faced down. Bake for 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft
4) Sweat the onions, add the bay leaf and garlic and then add the eggplant flesh, season with salt. Cook until oil comes to the surface
5) In a separate pan, sweat the mushrooms until all the water has evaporated and add to the eggplant
6) Add the cumin powder and harissa. Combine and add parsley. Stuff the eggplant shells and place back in the oven for 15 minutes
Make this part of your Rosh Hashanah spread or use as part of a mezze of Middle Eastern dishes
Pearls of Wisdom
Make sure that the eggplant flesh is fully cooked to avoid a raw taste