© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <email@example.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA
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Recipe from: An 18th century recipe by Cavalcanti, from Ms. Francesconi's La Cucina Napoletana
For the filling:
12 small eggplants (3 pounds)
Minced herbs (parsley, mint etc)
⅓ cup olive oil for the filling
¼ pound bread crumbs
2 ounces black olives from Gaeta (you'll want mild black olives), pitted
1 smoked herring of the kind preserved in oil, boned and minced
4 anchovy fillets, minced
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon salted capers, well rinsed.
For the sauce:
1 ¾ pound ripe plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic
Parsley, minced (to taste)
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
Basil to taste
Wash, and cut the tops off the eggplants (don't peel them), setting the tops aside. Using a sharp knife, scoop out as much of the inside of the eggplants as you can, setting the pulp in a bowl of water to keep it from darkening.
When you are done scooping, squeeze the pulp dry and sauté it in the oil with the minced herbs and garlic and pepper. After a few minutes stir in the bread crumbs, then the olives and the fish. Blend the filling, then mix in the capers and check seasoning.
Use the mixture to fill the eggplants, cap them, and arrange them in an oiled baking dish. Next, prepare the tomato sauce by sauteing the remaining clove of garlic in just a little oil, then stirring in the remaining ingredients and cooking the sauce for a few minutes.
Carefully pour the sauce over the eggplant, add the wine, and cook in a moderate oven, adding more liquid if necessary to keep the sauce from drying out, until the eggplants are easily penetrated by a fork.
Ms. Francesconi notes that the herring is a substitute for tarantello, a kind of fish that's almost impossible to find today. Should you prefer, you can use an equivalent amount of tuna packed in oil.