Stuffed Baby Eggplant With Tahini & Garlic
Recipes are often described as “de-constructed.” Well, this one is a “re-constructed” version of baba ghanoush. Traditionally made with smoked eggplant pulp, I keep the eggplant intact and simply roast these babies on a baking sheet instead (I always give things my own little twist). I think whole baby eggplant are pleasing to the eye and they have as much flavor as full-sized eggplant — just in a smaller package.
- 8 baby eggplant, preferably 4-5 inches long (not including the stem)
- Olive oil, for brushing
- 2-3 teaspoons tahini
- ½ small package (about ½ ounce) of cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and juice of ½ lemon
- Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 heaping teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- Chopped cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Leaving the stems intact, slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and lay them on the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush (or your fingers), brush olive oil all over the eggplant halves. Roast for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Using a teaspoon, carefully scoop out as much flesh as you can from each eggplant half without breaking the skin. Place the pulp into a small bowl and combine it with the tahini, cilantro, crushed garlic and lemon zest and juice, and season with salt and pepper.
- Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Carefully spoon the mixture into the eggplant skins, compressing the filling gently to prevent it from collapsing during cooking. Place the filled eggplant skins on the baking sheet and roast for 12 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and chopped cilantro.