Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stacked up

It's probably unwise to start cooking an unfamiliar recipe later than your normal dinner time, when you are already both tired and hungry.

Eh, what's life without a few challenges?

I picked up an eggplant last week. Eggplant was a staple when I was growing up, and I hated it. Peeled, layered in a colander with tons of salt, left to dry out, dredged in eggs and breadcrumbs, then pan fried, and finally layered in a pan with tomato sauce - ugh. Eggplant has almost no taste of its own, and by the time you suck out all the moisture and otherwise abuse it, well....

A few years back I tried a casserole that used cubed eggplant, along with sauteed ground turkey, some other veggies and a sauce. Eh. The flavor was fine, but the eggplant was a bit spongy. Yes, I realize it's that way naturally, but Texture Girl here just couldn't handle it.

So a different recipe tonight, Mario Batali's Eggplant Parmesan. It's different from my family recipe, as the eggplant is baked separately first, then layered with mozzarella, basil, Paremesan and sauce before being baked again. The only breadcrumbs are a little bit as a topping.

All right; I really chose the recipe because he makes them in cute little stacks, kind of like those cute little stacked up caprese salads.

Only my eggplant was a tiny, baby one. And I found out later - too late to stop - that my stash of good Parmesan cheese was completely depleted. Oh, and I didn't have any jarred sauce in the house (don't judge) and no frozen homemade stuff, so I had to make a quick tomato sauce as well.

It's a miracle I ate dinner at all tonight.

Actually, it didn't take very long at all to make, along with some whole wheat spaghetti as a side. Taste? Pretty darn good, though next time, I'll bake the eggplant a little longer the first time around, use a full size eggplant and put another layer on.

The finished product:

Objects appear larger than they are. True size about 1 1/2 inches
in diameter.


melissa said...

Have you tried Moussaka? It's eggplant (isn't it?), ground beef, some sweet spices and who knows what else. Read about it first in an old Rosamunde Pilcher story (Home for the Day in the book, The Blue Bedroom), and it got me to hankering for it. Made it, enjoyed it though Gary wasn't convinced. Still, it's a change from washed out and limp eggplant. Do you eat fried okra? I call it Southern caviar. :)

Francesca Watson said...

That looks really good... my objection to eggplant is primarily textural too.

Diane said...

I haven't had fried okra; what we get up here is mostly frozen and not very good, and I'm not exactly sure I'd know what to do with fresh stuff.

I may have spoken too soon - while the taste was good, I've continued to "taste" the eggplant all night and into the morning. Just the eggplant, not the sauce or cheese. Ugh.