These stuffed eggplant halves, whose name translates literally as "little shoes", epitomise the big-flavoured melting goodness that is Greek home cooking.
- 3 eggplant, halved
- 150 ml olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 50 gm mild flat pancetta
- 500 gm minced veal
- 400 gm canned tomato polpa (see note)
- ½ cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley,finely chopped
- 1 tsp thyme
- 350 gm Greek-style yoghurt
- 200 gm kefalotiri, finely grated
Greek chopped salad
- 1 baby gem lettuce, coarsely chopped
- 1 baby fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- ½ cup (loosely packed) each dill, flat-leaf parsley and mint
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1Score cut-side of eggplant in a crosshatch pattern, leaving a 1cm border, then remove flesh with a spoon and set aside.
- 2Heat half the oil in a deep-sided frying pan over high heat, add eggplant flesh, stir occasionally until tender (5-10 minutes), season to taste, transfer to a colander to drain excess oil and set aside.
- 3Heat half remaining oil in a deep-sided frying pan over medium-high heat, add onion, garlic and pancetta and stir occasionally until tender and golden (5-10 minutes). Add veal, stir until browned (5-10 minutes), add polpa, stir occasionally until thick (10-15 minutes), then stir through parsley, thyme and eggplant flesh, season to taste and set aside.
- 4Preheat oven to 180C. Heat remaining oil in a frying pan over high heat, add eggplant halves and turn occasionally until golden and slightly tender (3-5 minutes). Transfer to a baking dish to fit snugly cut-side up, then spoon meat mixture into eggplant halves, press to fill well and form into
mounds. Spoon over yoghurt, scatter over cheese, then bake until topping is golden and eggplant are tender (30 minutes).
- 5Meanwhile, for Greek chopped salad, toss ingredients in a bowl to combine and season to taste. Serve with hot papoutsakia.
Note Tomato polpa, coarsely puréed canned tomato, is available from select supermarkets and delicatessens. If unavailable, substitute canned crushed tomatoes.