Sunday, September 21, 2008

Recipe of the Week



I realize I haven't done this in a while and I think partly it's because the Ol' Man was out of town for several weeks so I wasn't cooking, and no one wants a recipe about nuking a frozen dinner.

The NY Times has been running a series on roasted eggplant - no, seriously, they have! - and here is one of the recipes they featured. I haven't tried it yet but as soon as I make it to the store I will give it a shot and let you know how it turned out. Until then, if any of you tried it please let me know how you like it!

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Gratin

For the tomato sauce:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, quartered if you have a food mill or else peeled, seeded and chopped; or 1 1/2 (28-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes, with juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon sugar
2 sprigs fresh basil

For the gratin:

2 pounds eggplant, roasted
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Roast the eggplant.

2. Meanwhile, to make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy, preferably nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the onion. Stir until tender, about five to eight minutes, then add the garlic. Stir until fragrant, about a minute, and add the tomatoes, salt (1/2 to 1 teaspoon), pepper, sugar and basil sprigs. Turn the heat up to medium-high. When the tomatoes are bubbling, stir well and then turn the heat back to medium. Stir often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and are beginning to stick to the pan, about 25 minutes. Remove the basil sprigs.

3. If you did not peel the tomatoes, put the sauce through the fine blade of a food mill. If the tomatoes were peeled, pulse the sauce in a food processor fitted with the steel blade until coarsely pureed. Taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set aside 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and mix with the bread crumbs. Oil the inside of a two-quart gratin or baking dish with olive oil. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce over the bottom of the dish. Slice the roasted eggplant about 1/4 inch thick, and set an even layer of slices over the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon a layer of sauce over the eggplant, and sprinkle with basil and Parmesan. Repeat the layers one or two more times, depending on the shape of your dish and the size of your eggplant slices, ending with a layer of sauce topped with the Parmesan and bread crumb mixture you set aside. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbling and browned on the top and edges. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Yield: Serves six

Advance preparation: The tomato sauce can be made up to three days ahead. The casserole can be assembled a day ahead, covered and refrigerated, then baked when you wish to serve it. Don’t add the last layer of bread crumbs and Parmesan, with the drizzle of olive oil, until right before you bake it.

1 comment:

Dana said...

This is awesome! Works for me cuz I'm vegetarian... ;)