Saturday, April 10, 2010

Eggplant Gratin

As with any good Italian, a love of eggplant is a must.  Growing up in an Italian family we had eggplant two different ways.  Dipped in egg, dredged in bread crumbs and fried or an eggplant relish called Caponata.  While both of these two dishes are great, I am always looking to serve it in different forms. 

I grow this great fruit, yes I said fruit, each season. Always searching for great recipes for this black beauty, recently I have turned to the internet.  I found this recipe on the Food Network site.  My love of eggplant and ricotta cheese was a big attraction.  I believe it came from Tyler Florence.  I made this as written and it was delicous!

Good olive oil for frying
¾ pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced ½-inch thick
¼ cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
¼ cup half and half
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
½ cup marinara sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚.
2. Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
3. Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat , and add more eggplant until all slices are cooked.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half and half, ¼ cup parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
5. In each of the 2 individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan on top.
6. Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until custard sets and top is browned.

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