Eggplant is one of those things I never had growing up, and considering how small the produce sections of grocery stores were back in those dark ages, it’s really not surprising. San Francisco was a city of immigrants, but it was also a city of neighborhoods – more often than not fairly segregated.

Our Irish family didn’t travel across town to the Italian North Beach for groceries, just as the Italians didn’t travel to Chinatown or the Chinese to The Mission. The exception was my Father the Fireman going to the Homestead Ravioli company for cards of fresh ravioli, or Molinari’s for Salami or a shop I don’t remember for corned beef briskets for St Paddy’s Day.

Eggplant wasn’t even on the radar.

Fast-forward 50 years and we’re on the east coast where eggplant is not only in every grocery store around, we also decided to grow it!


I learned really really quickly how to prepare eggplant!

Victor, on the other hand, just instinctively knew what to do with it. And tonight’s dinner is a perfect case in point.

He made stuffed eggplant with a fantastic filling of:

  • langostino
  • green onion
  • bell pepper
  • roasted pepper
  • breadcrumbs
  • quattro formaggio
  • the cubed eggplant
  • kalamata olives
  • arborio rice
  • tomato paste
  • chicken broth
  • oregano
  • S&P

He sauteed the eggplant in olive oil, added the rest of the ingredients with a bit of chicken broth and cooked it down. Into the eggplant shells with parmigiano and breadcrumbs on top. Into a 350°F oven for about an hour – until the skin was easily pierced with a skewer.

Done by touch and taste – no recipe required.

Because a fabulous main course needed a fun accompaniment, I made an olive and sun-dried tomato focaccia.

This is one of the easiest breads to make – and the variations are endless. I used kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes in oil – and I used the oil from the tomatoes in place of the olive oil in the recipe.


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 pkg yeast dissolved in
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup black olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped

Knead all ingredients until smooth – about 10 minutes. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Punch down dough and spread out on lightly-greased baking sheet. Let rise again, about 30 minutes. Dimple top of dough with knuckles and place into a 425°F oven about 20 minutes or until nicely-browned.

Simple and flavorful.