The Arabic name for this dish — or something very like it — translates as “the imam swooned.” It is that good!
- 2 purple eggplants, about 12 ounces each (choose long rather than round ones)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup long grain white rice
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup gluten-free vegetable broth
- 4 tablespoons dried currants
- 4 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 ounces (about ½ cup) grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 10 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- ½ cup chopped parsley, plus 2 tablespoons
- ½ cup gluten-free white bread crumbs (from about 1 slice of gf soft white sandwich bread, crusts shaven off)
- Olive oil spray
- Parsley sprigs for garnish
Slice the eggplants in half lengthways, including the leafy cap. Scoop out the flesh, leaving a ¼-inch thick shell, and chop finely. Oil a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold the eggplant halves with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and arrange them in it “nose to tail,” hollow side up.
Warm the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the uncooked rice. Add the chopped eggplant, thyme, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Sauté until the eggplant starts to turn glossy-looking, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir the rice mixture and add the currants, pine nuts, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, chopped tomato, olives, and chopped parsley. Mix well, and spoon into the eggplant shells. Combine the remaining Parmesan with the bread crumbs and sprinkle on top. Spray with olive oil, and bake until the stuffing is tender and the topping is golden brown (check occasionally, and if the tops start to brown too fast, cover loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil), about 45 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley, and tuck some sprigs alongside for garnish.
(This recipe originally appeared in #2/2012)
Recipe by Jacqueline Mallorca. The author of more than a dozen cookbooks, Jackie Mallorca’s most recent titles include The Wheat-Free Cook and Gluten-Free Italian. For more information, tips and recipes, go to GlutenFreeExpert.com.