Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Stuffed Jiló Blossom
Jiló is an eggplant variant popular in Brazil and West Africa. If you’re lucky, you’ll find them in farmers and specialty markets in late summer.
Here they are braised in white wine, then stuffed with chopped sautéed onion, roasted cherry tomatoes, mini bell peppers, and fresh herbs, and finished in a hot oven in a puddle of tomato-pepper sauce.
These braised, stuffed jilós are lovely served over garlicy herb-scented riced potatoes or a whole grain pilaf.
Whole and plant-based, gluten-free, with no oil, sugar or salt.
Prep time 1 hour Cooking time 15-20 minutes Serves 3-4
12 orange jiló or similarly sized alternative eggplant variety •
1 cup dry white wine, dry vermouth, or no-sodium vegetable broth
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced thinly
Dry white wine or dry vermouth or no-sodium veggie broth to deglaze pan
1 ½ pounds cherry or small ripe tomatoes, roasted
1 ½ pounds mini multicolored bell peppers, roasted
1 full Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 full Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 full Tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
Few grinds black pepper
1 full Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon aka (red) miso • •
1 full Tablespoon tomato paste
• While jilós are prized for their flavor among Brazilians, compared to modern European eggplant varieties, they are a little bitter and have a thicker skin. If you prefer milder eggplant, you can substitute small fairytale or petite Indian ratna eggplants.
•• Miso is a good salt alternative that helps to lower blood pressure (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313421/#:~:text=Miso%2C%20which%20is%20made%20from,%2C%20including%20salt%2Dsensitive%20hypertension.).
Braise the Jilós
Trim the jiló stems but leave their caps. You can leave them unpeeled or decoratively peel stripes with a potato peeler. Make one deep slit in each jiló beneath its cap to ¼” from the base.
Place jilós in a medium skillet, adding enough wine, vermouth or broth to cover ½” up the sides. Cover and braise gently for 20 minutes or until they are completely softened and thoroughly cooked. Check at 10 minutes to ensure the liquid has not evaporated and add more if it is low. When they’re ready, gently remove the braised jilós from the skillet, rinse and dry the pan. Set aside.
Reheat the skillet for 3 minutes over a medium flame. Dry sauté the onion slices over medium heat until they soften and carmelize. When they begin to adhere to your pan, deglaze with your liquid of choice, scraping up the dissolved carmelized sugars with a wooden spoon. Set aside.
Preheat oven at 400°F/204°C. Core peppers and remove seeds. Slice tomatoes in half. On a cookie sheet, lined with parchment, place the peppers and on a second cookie sheet, lined with parchment, arrange the tomatoes, sliced side up. Roast peppers for about 20 minutes or until lightly toasted and collapsed. Roast the tomatoes until partially dehydrated and lightly carmelized on their cut edges, about 30 minutes. Reserve 1 full cup of peppers for the Pepper-Tomato Sauce (see below). When cool, toss the roasted peppers, roasted tomatoes, sautéed onions, and 1 tablespoon of the miso into a food processor and pulse until you have chopped them, stopping well before you create a paste.
Transfer the mix to a bowl and stir in the chopped herbs. Season with black pepper. Taste and correct seasonings as you like.
Make Pepper-Tomato Sauce
Toss the reserved cup of roasted peppers into a blender. Add the tomato paste, 1 teaspoon miso, and enough water to create a fairly loose, smooth sauce. Set aside.
Stuff and Bake the Jilós
Preheat oven to 425°F/218°C.
Coat the bottom of your skillet (no need to wash it after sautéing the onions) with tomato-pepper sauce. Place each jiló on this saucy bed with the slit side facing up. Gentle open the cavity of each jiló and taking care not to tear them, generously stuff with the sautéed filling, mounding it on top. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and heated through.
Serve your jiló “blossom” hot out of the oven. Either present it in the skillet on the table so everyone can admire your “blossom”, allowing everyone to serve themselves, or plate on a mound of riced garlicy potatoes or a brown basmati rice pilaf, spooning on some of the tomato-pepper sauce, topped with 3-4 stuffed jilós. Then enjoy every mouthful!
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