Saturday, October 8, 2011

Eggplant Bake

First off, I love eggplant.   I think I tried it for the first time, willingly, a few years ago, up til then I'd refused it if offered it, and really, no one I knew back then even cooked with them, or used them or...   I think I remember my mother growing them at one point in time, but the memory is hazy.

I was at a potluck about 10 years ago (gee what a surprise, me at a potluck, giggle),  and some one had brought a plate of Eggplant Parmigiana, and I tried it.   And I liked it.  Even though I didn't think it had been prepared especially well, I could see/taste the possibilities of it.   And a couple of months later I bought my first eggplant, and made my version of Eggplant Parmigiana.  And I've been making it ever since.   I will vary the preparation a little from time to time, but the basics are there, eggplant, tomatoes and mushrooms.  A kind of divine trinity in my book.    Sometimes I dredge the eggplant in egg and breadcrumbs, and then fry them.  I've been known to peel the eggplant, but that's a lot of work, and usually when I get the mood for eggplant I want to do it quickly.

This past week I found a very handsome eggplant at the supermarket, and since I had dinner plans for a couple of days knew I wasn't going to be able to cook it right away, so I wrapped it in some plastic wrap.  I've  discovered that this keeps the eggplant fresher and it doesn't dry up and shrivel as quickly.    Just one of those hints, that works really well.
When I did get around to cooking the eggplant I was in a hurry and decided against the egg and bread crumb coating I usually use.  And quite frankly didn't want the mess either.  So, I sliced the eggplant into slices, then quick fried them in some olive oil and layered them into a casserole dish,

then sauteed some of the large mushrooms I'd found at the store, placed those on top of the browned eggplant, sprinkled a couple of thinly sliced cloves of garlic over the mushrooms and topped that layer with some thinly sliced tomatoes.

  I then sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top

and finished it off with some shredded Mozzarella cheese.

Put the lid on it and threw it in the oven for about 30 minutes.   When I pulled it out, the layers had all cooked together and when I tasted it,
Eggplant Bake

sublime, I love Eggplant and Mushrooms and Tomatoes together.     It was good.  But it was even better reheated the next day for lunch.   Something about that reheating made the eggplant even silkier and better.  And it's healthy, even if I did use a fair amount of olive oil.   The only bad thing about Eggplant, they work as sponges, and will absorb the oil, like there's no tomorrow.   I do cook them with non stick cooking spray, but you do still need a little olive oil to brown them up.


Eggplant Bake

1 whole eggplant cut into slices
1/2 lb or more Large Mushrooms, cut into thick slices
1-2 thinly sliced cloves of garlic
1 Tomato, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Tsp. Italian seasoning if desired.
Olive oil, sufficient for frying.
Cooking spray

Heat a pan with some cooking spray and drizzle in a little olive oil.   Place your slices of eggplant into the pan and let it fry until browned on both sides.    Place a layer into an oiled casserole dish, and then saute the mushrooms, when they've cooked a little place them on top of the eggplants, then top with slices of a thinly sliced tomato.  You can sprinkle some Italian seasoning here as well if you like.  I always forget to do so, but it's an option.
Sprinkle with some Parmesan Cheese, I used the powdered stuff in the can, but I think some freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano would go wonderfully here.   Top it off with some grated Mozzarella Cheese or slices of fresh Mozzarella cover and place in a 350 deg. oven for at least 30-45 minutes.  You can take the lid off and let it brown for the last 10 minutes to get a nice toasted layer of taste in there. 

***  I want to add, I don't use a great deal of salt when I'm cooking, so feel free to add some salt here if you like, but there was enough saltiness in the cheeses to satisfy me.  

So the next time you find some lovely eggplants, some large mushrooms and have a tomato hanging around, try this.   It is good.  
Sid Munkholm
Sid Munkholm

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

2 comments:

  1. I have this in the oven now. I added a layer of thinly sliced onions and a combination(oregano marjoram and basil) of fresh chopped herbs. You didn't say what the oven temp should be, so I'm assuming 350 Degrees?

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  2. Yes, it does bake at 350 degrees, and I'm going to go and edit my posting right now. Thanks so much for pointing that out. Let me know how the onions work with that, it sounds really yummy. Come to think of it, I have all those ingredients in the house right now. I think I'll make it for dinner tonight.

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