Ciao a Tutti!
With summer finally at full voice, we're making a return trip to the Adriatic sun-soaked Mola di Bari in the region of Puglia. Sharing the seat next to us in our beautifully appointed travel accommodations is once again, the happy-go-lucky Nonna Anna, who, like myself, hails from Mola di Bari. You'll remember her from an earlier episode when she taught us how to make (Cicorie con Fave). Gently tucked away in our overhead luggage compartment, Nonna Anna has managed to bring aboard her delicious Melanzane Ripiene, or "Stuffed Eggplant".
A staple of the Molese diet, these lovely hollowed out and re-stuffed halves are as ingrained into the culture as the morning espresso, or the afternoon nap. The real convenience here is that the eggplant is, essentially, stuffed with its own stuffing. Hollowed into small purple canoes, our eggplants shells rest atop a bed of marinara sauce and sliced potatoes that will be cooked just underneath, making for a very special companion to the meal. The real magic here comes when we transform the eggplant stuffing -- the combination of breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs, mint, and parsley transform the pedestrian eggplant into a meal that feels twenty times larger than it is. With that in mind, it's easy to see why there's hardly ever a table without an eggplant meal sitting on top.
Thank you again, Nonna Anna, for being my nonna and teaching us so much. And, of course, thank you all for tuning in! See you next week!