Last Saturday, my husband bought a huge bag of talong (eggplants) and, with the ground pork in the freezer, I immediately thought of making some tortang talong (eggplant fritatta). But I was recovering from the flu and the thought of frying the torta one by one made my dizzy. I baked them instead. Turned out to be a much better alternative. Less work, no watching while the torta cooked and much, much less too.
Is it a lot different from the fried version? Not a lot but there are differences. First, I couldn’t use too many eggs to avoid making the filling too watery. Second, I didn’t use freshly chopped vegetables for the same reason. The solution was less eggs and dehydrated vegetables. The juices from the ground pork were just enough to rehydrate the vegetables.
Dehydrated vegetables are available in most supermarkets. In Cherry Foodarama, the available varieties include pimientoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, onion leaves and a variety of mushrooms. They come in disposable plastic containers. I keep a couple of varieties for emergencies.
- 4 medium-sized eggplants eggplants
- 400 grams lean ground pork
- 1 tablespoon dehydrated garlic
- 1/2 cup dehydrated onion
- 1/4 cup dehydrated celery
- 1/4 cup dehydrated carrots
- 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
- 3 eggs beaten
- 4 thick slices cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 teaspoon pepper
Steam, grill or boil the eggplants (skins and stems on) just until the skin can be pulled off. Do not cook until mushy. Cool. Holding by the stem, pull off the skins. Make a shallow incision from top to bottom, open and flatten the eggplants with the back of a fork. Set aside.
Mix together the rest of the ingredients.
Lay a slice of cheese at the center of each eggplant. Cover with the meat mixture. Make a mound, shaping and smoothing with the back of a spoon.
Arrange the eggplants side by side on a lightly oiled shallow baking tray and bake in a preheated 180C oven for 15 minutes. Reset the oven so that the heat is on top. Cook the tortang talong for a further 5 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and tilt to let the fat drip to one side. Carefully lift each torta with a spatula and transfer to a serving platter. Serve at once.