A traditional Sephardic Passover meal for the Jews of Turkey and Rhodes contains a lot of stuffed vegetable dishes. Nona always mentioned the little stuffed eggplants; I think it was her favorite. You can find little Japanese eggplants everywhere now and also there are so many other small eggplants, round ones, striped white and purple ones. They will all work.
Serves10 to 20
10 to12 small Japanese eggplants (depending on size)
1 1/ 4 pounds of ground beef
1 cup of freshly chopped parsley
1 large clove of garlic, minced
3 extra large eggs
1/3 cup matzo meal
Freshly ground pepper
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
2 cups small diced Roma tomatoes
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
Wash and dry eggplants. Slice a small piece of the stem end off each eggplant. Slice eggplants in half and using a small melon ball scoop, take out some pulp to create a shell to stuff. Reserve the removed pulp after dicing it into small pieces for use later in the recipe.
Heat a large 12 inch skillet on medium-high and then, add two tablespoons oil. Season eggplants shells with salt and sauté each shell scooped side down until golden and beginning to soften. Remove eggplant shells and set aside on a large plate.
In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, parsley, garlic, eggs and matzo meal. Season the mix with salt and pepper.
Heat a 12 inch skillet and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Safflower (this oil is kosher for Passover). Add diced onions and sauté until translucent. Next, add reserved, diced eggplant pulp. Season onion mix, with salt and pepper and sauté until slightly golden and beginning to stick. Add diced tomatoes and cook down for another 2 minutes.
Heat oven to 350° F. Spoon sautéed vegetables evenly over eggplants in baking dish. Mix crushed tomatoes with water and pour over baking dish. Garnish with a tablespoon of parsley and season once more with salt and pepper. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Place baking dish in hot oven and bake one half hour. Remove aluminum foil and bake for another one half hour. Remove dish from oven when it looks golden and bubbly, cooked through. You may make this several days ahead. It can be re-heated or eaten cold as you prefer for an appetizer or vegetable side dish at the Seder.