Baked Stuffed Eggplant
Fine sea or kosher salt
6 small eggplants (about 8 ounces each)
2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
1 medium Spanish onion, cut into ½ inch dice
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 medium white mushrooms cut into quarters
½ red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into ½ -inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 to 4 ounces herbed or plain goat cheese, crumbled (¾ cup)
1 cup canned vegetable stock or chicken broth
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare the eggplants: Cut off the stems. Slice about ½ inch from the top of each eggplant, starting at the wide end and working toward the stem, but stopping about 1 inch from the stem end. Scoop out the flesh from the eggplant, leaving about ½ inch from the stem end. Scoop out the flesh from the eggplant, leaving about ½ inch attached to the skin on all sides. Again, don’t scoop any from the stem end. The idea is to end up with a little eggplant “boat,” perfect for stuffing. Chop the pulp coarsely if necessary and reserve. Slip the eggplants into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, poking them to keep them submerged. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon onto a baking sheet lined with a kitchen towel or paper towels. Let them cool while you make the stuffing.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until rippling. Add the onion and garlic, and cook stirring, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until they give off their liquid, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the pepper and reserved eggplant pulp. Drizzle another tablespoon or so of oil over the vegetables and continue cooking, stirring often, until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir the cheese into the filling, letting it melt and coat the vegetables.
Spoon the stuffing into the eggplants, mounding it slightly. Pour the stock into the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until the eggplant shells are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve hot and warm.