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J. E. Kinghorn

Herbal Pantry

Every year I vow not to grow too many plants of summer squash, zucchini and eggplant but every year it seems that no matter how much I cut down on the plants I seem to get way too many vegetables.  This year, however, I planted one plant of each.  Let's see how that works.  If you are inundated with eggplant, here are two recipes that you can try.  

Sicilian Eggplant Stuffed with Garlic & Melting Cheese.

2 medium eggplants
Kosher Salt
3T extra virgin olive oil
1 lg. Onion finely chopped
8 lg. Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 lb. Tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
½ t crushed red pepper
Pinch of sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
5 oz. Of sharp caciocavallo or provolone cheese, sliced ¼ inch thick and cut into 2-inch pieces.
2T shredded mint(optional)
2T shredded basil
2T shredded parsley

Roll eggplant on counter top gently to soften flesh.
Prepare eggplant -wash a cut off stem.
Make 8 deep 2 inch slits in the eggplants.
Fill a large bowl with water and add kosher salt-1T and soak for about an hour.  Drain and pat dry.
Heat oils in medium casserole and ads onion, half the garlic and 3T of water. Cook tightly covered over medium heat until onion is softened and golden.  Add tomatoes, crushed red pepper, sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
Stuff the cheese and remaining garlic deep into the slits in the eggplant.  Press the eggplant back into shape and place in the casserole containing the sauce.  Sprinkle ½ the herbs over the eggplant then cover with a crumpled moistened sheet of parchment paper, (keeps eggplant from drying out too much).  I've made this dish without the paper and it works just fine.  You need to watch it more closely and baste often. Cover the casserole and cook over low heat turning the eggplant every 30 minutes removing and replacing the paper.  Eggplant should be tender and slightly collapsed about 1½ hours.  Add a few T of water if eggplant begins to stick to the bottom of dish. Remove eggplant and boil to thicken sauce if it appears to thin. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with remaining herbs.  Different slant of eggplant Parmesan.

Grilled Eggplant.
Thyme & Rosemary Rub.

1T fresh rosemary or 1t dried
1T fresh thyme or 1t dried
1t finely minced garlic
¼ t salt
¼ t ground black pepper
Prepare eggplant- wash remove stem and slice into ½ inch pieces.  Salt lightly and let stand for about ½ hour or until vegetable appears moistened.
Spray with olive or vegetable oil and apply rub.  
Grill until flesh is soft, turning often.

Grilled eggplant goes very well with grilled fish.  You can use the rub on the fish as well.