4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in long slivers
4 in ch length of baguette, cut into six slices, and dried out in oven
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp tomato paste
4 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 fresh tomato, very finely chopped (do not seed)
2 tsp Aleppo pepper (optional, available at Middle Eastern markets; smoked paprika is good substitute)
1 Tbsp vegetable broth concentrate (like Better Than Bouillon), or more to taste
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper
4 oz good quality feta cheese (brined preferred)
½ cup dried white bread crumbs
8 Triscuit Crackers, plus extra Triscuit Crackers to put out in a bowl on the dinner table
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Let's Make It
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Salt lightly. Let stand for 10-15 minutes and wipe dry. With cut side up, cut three long ways gashes 5 short ways gashes (NOT piercing skin) in eggplant flesh. Pour EVOO into shallow rimmed baking dish. Dredge cut side and skin side of both eggplant halves in EVOO. Place oiled eggplant flesh side up in pan and bake on middle shelf 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.
2. Meanwhile make stuffing base. Heat vegetable oil in 10 inch skillet. Add onion, sliced thinly. Sautee 2 minutes. Add garlic slivers and chopped rosemary. Sautee 2 more minutes, or until onions and garlic are soft. By hand, crumble dried bread slices into onion-garlic mix. Add heavy cream, tomato paste, rosemary, fresh tomato, Aleppo pepper, vegetable broth concentrate and pecans. Mix and cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes. Adjust with salt and pepper. Reserve, and reheat lightly when eggplant comes out of oven.
3. Meanwhile prepare topping. In a bowl, combine feta with bread crumbs and with your fingers work together the two ingredients to a very crumbly mixture that is no longer wet, but only slightly moist. Process 8 Triscuit Crackers in food processor into crumbs (large side is best). When eggplant comes out of the oven, combine the feta/bread crumb mixture with crumbled Triscuit Crackers.
4. Remove eggplant from oven, and turn oven to 500°F. Scoop eggplant flesh from eggplant, leaving skin intact in the baking dish, and mix eggplant flesh thoroughly into stuffing base. Divide the stuffing in two, and use spatula to scoop it back into the hollowed out eggplant skins. Spread to edges and pat stuffing down lightly. Divide topping in two, and pat it lightly on top of stuffed eggplants. Place the baking dish back in the oven on middle shelf (OK if not yet 500 degrees F), and bake for 4-7 minutes, until topping nicely browned. Remove, cut each eggplant half in half, and serve. Extra Triscuit Crackers on the table can be used to scoop up the results.