Baked Baby Eggplants
4 baby eggplants
2 tablespoons olive oil for sauteeing plus more for coating the eggplant shellls
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 small green pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 very large clove garlic, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
more kosher salt and ground black pepper
2-3 sprigs thyme
1/4 teaspoon capers, chopped
1 envelope Goya Sazon, with culantro and achiote
1-8 oz.can tomato sauce
1-8 oz. bag shredded mozzarella cheese and/or sharp cheddar
grated Pecorino Romano
fresh ground pepper
Cut each eggplant in half. Peel off the purple skin, except for a strip around the edge. Place the eggplant in a baking dish, cut side up, and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse off the salt under cold water. With a tomato shark or small spoon, carefully scoop out the eggplant pulp. Discard the very seedy part; keep the rest of the pulp, set aside. Sprinkle the eggplant shells with some olive oil, and use hands to coat them all over. Place cut side down in the baking pan and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook the onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, carrot, and reserved eggplant pulp until tender. While cooking the vegetables, add the salt, pepper, and Sazon. Stir in
the thyme, capers, and tomato sauce. Simmer together until sauce thickens and reduces slightly.
Turn the eggplants over. Add some shredded cheddar cheese in each eggplant half, then bake about 10 minutes. Now stuff each baby eggplant with the vegetable-tomato sauce mixture. Sprinkle with some Romano cheese, then cover with the mozzarella. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the eggplants are neated through. You can serve these as a side or a vegetarian entree.