Romanian Cuisine — Rosii Umplute cu Vinete, Eggplant-Stuffed Tomatoes

The Romanians truly love to stuff things, as we explored earlier.  This time we present a recipe for the salad course, rosii umplute cu vinete, a fresh tomato stuffed with roasted eggplant.

For a satisfying and very healthy first course it is tough to beat rosii umplute cu vinete.  Served on top a bed of fresh salad greens, the freshness and interesting flavor combinations of this dish made a great start for our Romanian meal.

Rosii umplute cu vinete

(adapted from The Art of Romanian Cooking by Galia Sperber)

MAKES 4

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Tbs parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 small round tomatoes, preferably firm

First, the eggplant (about the size of one of those little Nerf footballs) was wrapped in foil:

eggplantinfoil

…and put into a preheated 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until it felt soft when poked.  Unwrapped, it looked like this:

eggplantroasted

Allowed to cool long enough that it could be handled, the eggplant was peeled:

eggplantpeeled

…and cut into about a half inch dice.  The eggplant, onion, olive oil, parsley, salt, and pepper were mixed in a bowl:

stuffing

…and were set aside, awaiting their containment vessel.

Next, we were ready to deal with the tomatoes:

tomatoes

First the top was cut from each tomato:

tomatoestopped

Then, using a paring knife, a cut was made along the inside edge of the tomato to loosen the insides from the tomato body:

tomatoesparing

Continued with each tomato:

tomatoespared

…we were ready to remove the guts with a spoon.  Careful not to breach the body of each tomato, the insides were scooped out and discarded:

tomatoesgutted

The tomatoes were then stuffed with the eggplant mixture and placed atop a bed of mixed greens dressed simply with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper:

tomatoplated

The eggplant stuffing in these tomatoes is surprisingly filling and satisfying and put an interesting twist on the salad course of our Romanian meal.

More from our Romanian meal: ardei umpluti.

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