As a point of difference from its Mediterranean island cousins, this classic Balearic version of stuffed vegetables uses sobrassada and fennel.
- 2 potatoes, halved
- 2 zucchini (courgettes), halved lengthways
- 2 long thin eggplants (aubergines), halved lengthways
- 2½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
- 150 g (5½ oz) lean minced (ground) pork
- 250 g (9 oz) lean minced (ground) beef
- 100 g (3½ oz) sobrassada or minced (ground) chorizo
- sea salt flakes
- 3 marjoram or oregano sprigs, leaves chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) passata (puréed tomatoes)
- 2 slices fresh bread, blitzed in a food processor
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) fan-forced. Line a deep baking dish with baking paper.
- Place the potato in a large saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for 4 minutes, then drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. Spoon out the potato flesh, leaving a 1-cm (½-in) layer of potato around the edges and base. Discard the potato flesh or save for another use.
- Spoon out the zucchini and eggplant flesh in the same way, then finely chop the flesh and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until soft and golden. Stir through the fennel, allspice and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the minced pork and beef, sobrassada, a pinch of salt and the chopped zucchini and eggplant and cook for 10 minutes, breaking up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon, or until the meat has browned and any liquid has evaporated.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside to cool a little before adding the marjoram and seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the mixture into the hollowed-out vegetables and place in the lined baking dish.
- Spoon 1–2 tablespoons of passata over the top of each stuffed vegetable half, then sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and bake for 10–12 minutes, until golden.
Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99