My friend La Bethulia dropped by the other day and left me with two lovely fresh eggplants. Wanted to cook them up and freeze them, but since I have more than enough ratatouille in the freezer, wasn’t sure what to do with them. At last weekend’s Farmer’s Market, though, I came across a guy who was selling what he called “eggplant lasagne.” Could I make that?
Quite a few recipes for concoctions by that name inhabit the Internet. I downloaded one from Epicurious, because I had most of the ingredients on hand. The only thing it called for that I didn’t have was ricotta…but I figured a workaround. It turned out really well. Here’s how it came down:
Two eggplants, sliced lengthwise into quarter-inch-thick slices
Marjoram, oregano, or mixed herbs (I used herbes de Provence)
half an onion, chopped
a couple of garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
a roll of mozarella cheese, sliced up
2 16-ounce cans diced (or other) tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
splash of red wine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more as topping
canned or bottled roasted peppers
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Salt the eggplant slices generously. Skim the bottom of a large rimmed baking pan or two smaller pans with olive oil. Place the eggplant slices in a single layer in the pan; rub the top sides lightly with more olive oil, and sprinkle with thyme. Bake the eggplant in the hot oven until browned and pliable.
Meanwhile, sautée the chopped onion in some more olive oil. As the onion begins to brown, add the garlic, stir a bit, and then stir in the canned tomatoes, the tomato paste, and (if desired) a slosh of red wine. Allow to simmer for a few minutes, until you’re ready to assemble the casserole.
In a small bowl, mix the egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and the yogurt together well. Add about a tablespoon of herbes de Provence and mix this in, too.
When the eggplant slices are done, remove them from the oven and turn the heat down to 375 degrees.
Use more olive oil to grease an oblong baking dish. Layer enough eggplant to cover the bottom of the dish. Spread about half the yogurt mixture over the top of this layer. Spread about half the tomato mixture over this. Spread sliced mozzarella over the tomato mixture. Lay several canned peppers atop the cheese layer (slice them so they’ll lay flat).
Add another layer of eggplant, followed by the remaining yogurt mixture, then a layer of mozzarella (if you still have any), and the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese generously over the top.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 or 20 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes, until bubbly and hot all the way through.
This turned out to be amazingly delicious. Served with a green salad, it made enough to feed a guest for lunch and still have plenty to freeze in six or eight individual portions.
You could add any number of other goodies to it: mushrooms, Italian sausage, a layer of spinach, a sprinkling of broccoli. And it’s gluten free. Try it out!