Baked Stuffed Eggplant & Sardines
Not everyone likes sardines but Teresa and I love them! To be honest, when my husband & son heard I was making sardines & eggplant they made some weird faces. I told them that's what I was cooking so they could either join me or cook for themselves! The combination of eggplant, sardines, garlic, onions, and tomatoes was making my mouth water. This dish doesn't have a strong 'fishy' taste at all but the flavor is reminiscent of Sicilian cuisine. My son had one request; please add some tomato sauce to it. Since I didn't have any made I whipped up a quick sauce using Italian stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic & oil. At first, their faces were very skeptical and then they took their first bites. I'm pretty sure they didn't want to say they liked it, but those weird faces turned to smiles and both wanted to split the 4th eggplant, which I immediately said 'NO', it's mine and Teresa's lunch for tomorrow! Moral of the story: never be afraid to cook what comes into your head because it just might be a new family favorite...you never know. Enjoy!
- 2 (4.375 oz) cans skinless boneless sardines in olive oil, drained and flaked
- 2 large eggplants, cut in half lengthwise (leave stems on)
- 1/3 cup EVOO
- 1 Tablespoon EVOO
- 1 ½ large sweet onions, diced
- 4-6 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14 ounce) cans Hunt’s Italian style diced tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoons Hunt’s Italian style tomato paste with garlic & basil
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano (more or less to taste, fresh oregano may be substituted.)
- 1/4 cup grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano)
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Quick Tomato Sauce (any homemade or jar sauce is fine) more if you are serving with pasta
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Cut eggplants in half, lengthwise with the stem attached. Score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern being careful not to cut through the skins.
- In a large skillet on medium heat, heat 1/3 cup oil then lower heat. Add the eggplant, flesh down. Cover and cook until completely softened but not falling apart. About 10 minutes. Carefully flip over and cook until soft, about 5 minutes more. You may have to do this in 2 batches if your skillet isn’t large enough.
- When done, let cool in a separate dish. Once cooled, leaving a 1/8-inch border, gently scoop eggplant flesh into a bowl and chop. Lightly drizzle some EVOO on the bottom of a baking dish and place the eggplant shells gently inside, close to each other to support them from flattening.
- In the same pan, add the 1 Tablespoon EVOO and saute onions for about 6-7 minutes on medium heat. Add all remaining ingredients including the chopped eggplant & flaked sardines, except the grated Locatelli and mozzarella cheeses. Remove from heat and combine well.
- Sprinkle with Locatelli cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese then top with 1 or 2 spoonfuls of quick sauce down the middle, again sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese again. Bake about 5-10 minutes or until cheese melts.
- Serve by itself or over your favorite pasta!