I remember when my mom made stuffed eggplants, or “aubergines farcies,” for the first time. All I can say is that I don’t remember anything else served at the table. She got the recipe from her friend who was Persian, or “Farsi” in Iranian, which also sounds like the word for “stuffed” in French, so we kept referring to them as “Aubergines Farsi,” rolling the “R” to accentuate the Persian accent. You can make a bunch for a meal and save the rest for later – not sure for how long, as it’s very rare that mine make it to the third day. You don’t need to heat them again if you don’t want to. I like to just grab them like a slice of cheese and put them in sandwich bread, or I’ll just eat them “as is” when there is no bread around. They are so addictive, I have to convince myself to stop going back to the kitchen for them.
Steps: Cut the eggplants in half (This recipe works better with small eggplants). Face up, sprinkle with salt and let them sweat for at least one hour. Make sure to dry them with a paper towel before sliding them one by one in a hot oil bath, face down first until golden brown, then turn them to cook on the other side. When they’re cool enough to handle, scoop out the center and save it in a bowl, and save the scooped-out eggplants separately. In a pan, add a little oil (not much, as the eggplants were already cooked in oil) and saute one finely chopped onion for few minutes. Add spices (cumin, paprika, black pepper), the cooked eggplant, minced garlic, halved olives (both green and black work), and herbs (parsley or cilantro). Cook together for about 10 mins. Salt to taste. Then, fill the scooped-out eggplant halves with the mixture and top with grated cheese. I used Gruyère here. Place them on an oven tray or an oven-safe dish and bake them for 20 mins or until the cheese makes a golden crust.
Tip: When frying the eggplant halves skin down, it’s not always easy to know if the eggplants are cooked, since the dark skin doesn’t really change color. Undercooked eggplants are difficult to scoop, and in overcooked eggplants the skin loses its shape or even rips and won’t hold the stuffing. So before frying each eggplant half, peel a strip lengthwise along its skin. This will create a light stripe in contrast with the dark skin. When the stripe turns brown, the eggplant is done.