'A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook' imagines the foods of New Orleans' favorite malcontent _lowres

Photo by CYNTHIA LeJEUNE NOBLES -- Garlicky Crab, Crawfish and Shrimp-Stuffed Eggplants

Garlicky Crab, Crawfish and Shrimp-Stuffed Eggplants

Makes 4 entrée servings. Recipe is from “A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook: Recipes from Ignatius J. Reilly’s New Orleans” by Cynthia LeJeune Nobles.

2 eggplants (¾-1 pound each)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped bell pepper

½ pound peeled crawfish tails, with fat (or substitute shrimp)

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

¼ cup dry white wine

1½ cups bread crumbs, preferably made from stale French bread, divided

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

¼ cup minced fresh parsley

¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

½ pound crab meat

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Halve eggplants lengthwise, keeping stems intact. Using a paring knife, score the cut insides in a crisscross pattern, making sure to not cut down through skin. Using same knife or a grapefruit spoon, scoop out the pulp, leaving ¼ inch on the skin. Chop pulp into ½-inch pieces and reserve both pulp and skin.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over moderately high heat and sauté onion and bell pepper until softened. Add crawfish and shrimp and sauté until just cooked through, about 1 minute. Stir in eggplant pulp, garlic and wine and sauté, stirring constantly, until eggplant is just tender and most of liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.

4. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1 cup bread crumbs, salt, black pepper, cayenne, oregano, basil, parsley, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and beaten egg. Gently stir in crab meat.

5. Mound stuffing into eggplant shells and top with a mixture of remaining ½ cup bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons Parmesan and melted butter. Place in a lightly oiled baking pan and bake until brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool 5-15 minutes before serving.