Stuffed Eggplant (version XV)
8 asian eggplants or 4 very small globe eggplants, about 2 pounds total weight
Cut off and discard the stems from the eggplants. Using a sharp knife, peel the eggplants to form a striped pattern that resembles a barber pole.
1/2 cup olive oil
3 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
12 cloves garlic, finely minced
pinch of sugar
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (italian) parsley
1 cup hot water
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the eggplants and sauté until tender and softened on all sides, 5-8 minutes for the Asian variety and 15 minutes for the globe variety. Using a slotted spatula or tongs, carefully transfer the eggplants to a baking dish, arranging them side by side.
Add the onions to the oil remaining in the pan and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic and continue to sauté for 2 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the sugar. Stir in the parsley and set aside.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut a lengthwise slit about half-way through each eggplant and to within 1 inch of both ends. Carefully pull the slit open to make a pocket. Stuff each slit with an equal amount of the tomato-onion mixture. Add the hot water to the pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake until the eggplants are very tender when pierced with a fork, 15-20 minutes for the Asian variety and 30-45 minutes for the globe variety.
Transfer the eggplants to a platter. Let cool. Serve at room temperature.
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