No, not the Naked Chef. Sorry. But as I once wrote a book that was continually interrupted by recipes it gave me the re-inspiration to make the same type of interruption on my blog. So let’s do it!
Derek’s Stuffed Up Red Things.
Because ingredients seem to change name from country to country, I have included some easy to follow pictures because I have no idea what a shallot is by any other name. Or is it pepper or capsicum or pickle? Well mine are red. I think bread crumbs are ok in most forms of English though. Probably the parsley as well. Alright, I don’t care if it’s an aubergine or an eggplant. You just need one anyway. Spring onion? So, get the stuff in the picture plus some olive oil, salt and pepper.
The tricky bit. First thing to do. Peel the eggplant, aubergine thing and chop it up into little cubes. Inches, centimeters? Say the size of your thumb nail will do. A bit bigger or smaller won’t kill the recipe. Now shove the cubes in a bowl and sprinkle generously with lots of salt. Not that much! About the amount you can fit in a little mound in the palm of your hand. Mix it around a bit and then forget about it all for a while.
Now, carefully, and I mean really carefully take the tops out of the red things with a very small knife. Stick your longest finger in to move around the seeds and then give them a gentle tap or two and the seeds will fall out. If you miss one or two no one will notice. Then place them in simmering (that means blub, blub, blub) hot water for about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
If the skins start to crack, it was too long so you need to go back to the store and start again.
Finely chop. Did you hear me? Finely chop the shallot , the spring onion and parsley. Forget about the spring onion and parsley for now and concentrate on the finely chopped shallot. Gently fry in a pan with some olive oil until softened. Not golden or burnt! Take of the heat and set aside.
Now. The really important bit. Your cubes of the eggplant, aubergine thing should have been soaking in salt for about 30 minutes or half an hour. If not, have a cuppa and wait on a bit. But if it is about 30 minutes or half an hour, get ready.
You need top take a little, little handful at a time and squeeze like you have never squeezed before. An ugly coloured brown liquid should be escaping through your fingers. When you think you have squeezed out all the liquid, give it just one more squeeze for good measure.
Now throw your little ball of mush into the pan with the softened shallot. Don’t cook it yet! Finish squeezing the rest of the cubes.
Return the pan to a moderate heat and fry until soft and a little golden. You can occupy yourself by squishing the aubergine as it cooks. We don’t want cubes anymore. I sometimes attack with a potato masher just for the hell of it. When it looks cooked, whatever that is, take it of the heat and that’s all the cooking for a while. Add the breadcrumbs, parsley and spring onion to the pan and mix it around as much as you like.
To save burning your fingers, best to wait a bit for everything to cool down, before stuffing the daylight out of the peppers. If you have too much stuffing, keep it to put on a sandwich. If you don’t have enough, well, that’s just bad luck isn’t it?
Ok, now stick the stuffed peppers in a dish, sprinkle with olive oil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or half an hour at a moderate hear in either celsius or fahrenheit.
I like to serve them with escargot sausages, but then, I’m crass.
You do what you like.