This month I’m offering up some of my heartiest and most autumn-like recipes for fall to suite various taste buds. I find the fall season to be not just a time for warmth and homely goodness, but it also beckons a sense of elegance in my mind and some of my recipes for the season reflect this as well. I already kick started the month with a lovely Pumpkin Flower Soup in our A Fork and a Flick Friday post. Today, I want to share another beautiful fall vegetable – the Aubergine or Eggplant.
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean this vegetable is most often referred to as Aubergine, but here in the United States it is simply Eggplant. Eggplants are currently at their seasonal peak and it’s a great time to take advantage of this gorgeous purple vegetable that compliments the season so beautifully with its amethyst jewel tone. And a jewel of a veggie it is. Eggplants are packed with healthy fats and omega 3s, which makes it a great meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans alike. But that is not all, beyond the nearly 11 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per cup, eggplants are very low in sodium and have no cholesterol. They’re also very high in fiber, iron, manganese, potassium and vitamins B6 and C, as well as magnesium, niacin, pantothenic acid and phosphorus. What a hearty vegetable source for getting all your nutrients and to boost up your immune system while the chill of the season sets in and flu season starts to take off!
This fall super veggie won’t just help you through the season, but eating more eggplant will aid with wellness for the long run as well. Eggplant helps to boost your memory and perhaps prevent Alzheimer’s disease by preventing decreased lipids, which is associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s. Scientific studies found that eggplant’s anthocyanin phytonutrient nasunin, an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer, is also responsible for ensuring that brain cell membranes retain their lipids.
So, slice up the versatile eggplant for eggplant steaks, eggplant lasagna, or try my recipe for Shrimp and Basil Stuffed Aubergine or simply known as Stuffed Eggplant Boats. It’s has beautiful flavor and can be eaten as a main dish. This recipe serves two using one eggplant split in half.
Shrimp and Basil Stuffed Aubergine
1 medium sized eggplant, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
11 medium shrimp – peeled, deveined and tail off (chopped shrimp optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/8 cup mushrooms shopped
1/8 cup onions chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ tsp. crushed red peppers
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut eggplant in half, cutting through the stem and down its length. Cut perpendicular (crisscross) slices in the flesh of the eggplant to within ¼ inch of the shell. Use a spoon to scoop out cubes of eggplant pulp. Season eggplant pulp with salt and pepper and roast in oven until it is tender, but not fully cooked (about 20 minutes). Then set aside.
Coat shells with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place shells in oven preheated to 350 while preparing the filling (about 15 minutes). You want the shells a little tender but not fully cooked when you stuff them.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. First add onions and garlic until tender, but not brown. Add crushed red peppers, basil and mushrooms and sauté until tender. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp turns pink, about 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved eggplant. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in wine, and cook 5 minutes.
Turn the stove off and allow the mixture to sit a minute then mix in the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. If mixture is dry, stir in more olive oil. Stuff mixture into eggplant shells, and sprinkle top with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until eggplant is tender.
Serve warm with a salad or orzo.