Turkish Stuffed Eggplants

Turkish Stuffed Eggplants
A mixture of onions and bell pepper is doctored with cumin, paprika, and cinnamon for the filling of these roasted eggplants.Simon Bajada

This dish is best served at room temperature after the flavors have had time to settle. Be sure to finish it with a liberal drizzle of olive oil.

Equipment

Turkish Stuffed Eggplants
Garlicky bell peppers laced with cumin, paprika, and cinnamon fill these roasted eggplants.
Yield: serves 8
Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 4 medium eggplants (1¾ lb. total)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 large white onions, thinly sliced (2½ cups)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped (1½ cups)
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp.)
  • 1½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley leaves, divided

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 375°F. Halve the eggplants lengthwise, and place the halves cut side up on a large baking sheet. Using a sharp paring knife, make three deep cuts into the flesh, taking care not to puncture the skin. Season the cut sides of each half with salt and black pepper, and drizzle each half with 2 tablespoons oil. Roast until tender and cooked through, 30–35 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a large skillet, heat the remaining ¼ cup oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly caramelized, 20–22 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper, garlic, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and continue cooking until the peppers have softened, 5 minutes more. Uncover the skillet, and stir in ¼ cup of the parsley.
  3. When the eggplants are completely soft, remove from the oven. Using a fork, lightly mash down the flesh of each half to create a well. Spoon the pepper and onion mixture into the eggplants (about 1½ tablespoons per half). Cover with foil, return to the oven, and roast until very soft, about 20 minutes more.
  4. Remove, uncover, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large platter, sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley, and drizzle liberally with olive oil just before serving.