This is what I picked up:
2 small Italian eggplants
2 large garlic cloves (or more)
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
Wash the eggplant and poke with a knife a few times so that it doesn't rupture when cooking.
Grace hadn't told me how she cooked the whole eggplant so I tried two ways. One baked on a baking sheet and the other wrapped in foil and baked.
If baking on the sheet spray that with cooking spray. Or take a sheet of foil and spray that before wrapping the eggplant in it. You could also coat the eggplant with olive oil.
Bake at 400F for 30 minutes, about 10 minutes longer if you use larger eggplants. While they bake, lightly brown the chopped garlic in a pan with olive oil and set aside.
Chop the nuts too. I used the smash-in-a-wax-cereal-bag method : ) so there were still lots of big pieces.
You should be able to easily poke through the cooked eggplant with a fork when done.
So here they are after baking. I personally like the look of the wrapped one better. Plus the cleanup is a lot easier when wrapped in foil.
Cool so that you can handle them. Butterfly the eggplant, cutting in half but not all the way through. Make several hash marks in the flesh.
Mix the chopped nuts and seeds together with the browned garlic and press into the eggplant. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt over all. Close and squeeze lightly.
Wrap in plastic wrap or foil and chill overnight.
Slice into the goodness.
I was told to serve it cold and it's good like that but I found the flavours came out more when warmed in foil.
And here is my attempt using Chinese eggplant.
They are thinner than the Italian eggplant as you can see, but I still baked them for 30 minutes. Once baked in foil they didn't look as pretty. Kind of look like weiners!
As I had never cooked a Chinese eggplant before I was surprised to see it's texture when I sliced it opened.
I chopped the nuts a little more than the last time, mixed in the olive oil and salt, and filled the eggplant.
And wrapped them up in foil.
I plan on heating these ones up.