Friday, September 18, 2009

Eggplant Gratin

We've had quite a crop of eggplant this year, from a mere six plants. Although we have given more than a few away, we mostly are looking for different ways to disguise the fact that the main ingredient is eggplant. Don't get me wrong -- we both like it -- but in and of itself, eggplant has more texture than flavor, and has a way of soaking in the flavor of anything with which you cook it.

I'm getting sick to death of ratatouille and eggplant parmesan, so I decided to do an eggplant gratin today. What's not to like about any veggie hidden within layers of cheese? I adapted this from Ina Garten's recipe on Food network. Ina's recipes are always pretty reliable, and the reviews of this one give it five stars, overall.

Yield: 2 servings
Time: 20 minutes prep/assembly, and 30 minutes to bake at 400F

  • 3/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce (I didn't use any, so I'd call it optional)
Note: I have plenty of quarts of my own homemade tomato sauce, canned, and I didn't have to open a new one for this. It really doesn't need any, one way or another.

  1. slice your eggplant into 1/2" slices, brush it with olive oil, and roast it at 400 - 425F for approximately 20 minutes, flipping it over once (you can fry it in a pan for a lot less time, but that soaks up way too much oil, even if your pan is almost smoking hot)
  2. Take it out to cool down, either on a cooling rack, or paper towels
  3. mix up the egg, ricotta, milk, salt and pepper (it's okay if it's still a little chunky, but smooth works, too)
  4. layer in the roasted or fried eggplant, with the mixed up wet ingredients, topping it all off with shredded cheese
  5. bake uncovered at 400F for about half an hour, until the top browns nicely
  6. let cool for a few minutes, and serve while still warm
Note: I used 10-oz. ramekins for this. It doesn't really matter what you use, but you may have to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

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