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Eggplant Gratin 
1st-Dec-2007 06:13 pm
This is one I boosted off of Barefoot Contessa, too good not to share. I have one in the oven as I type this!

Eggplant Gratin
Thick, olive oil fried slices of eggplant layered with marinara sauce and a parmesan/ricotta custard - baked to a golden brown.
  • Good olive oil, for frying
  • 3/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º
  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. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
  4. In a casserole dish place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and the marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, the ricotta mixture, and finally the remaining grated Parmesan on top.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.
(Deleted comment)
7th-Dec-2007 08:16 pm (UTC)
I say 'custard' because it has many of the same components. It bakes into a soft but solid mass, not much different than the ricotta itself. Best of all, it enfolds around the eggplant beautifully. I make it about once a week now actually. Oh - and I sometimes add basil to the ricotta mixture for extra flavor, I always try to use basil in conjunction with marinara.

I don't mind at all - welcome!
(Deleted comment)
7th-Dec-2007 09:20 pm (UTC)
It's better to beat the ricotta first with the 1/2 & 1/2 to make it nice and smooth, then the parmesan and lastly add the beaten egg. If you're adding basil, do it before the egg so that it won't clump in the egg's protein structure. Let the egg part be the last. It bakes up pretty smooth, actually.

My father's lineage is Italian, my mother's Greek. That's where a lot of the inspiration for my cooking comes from.

You'll be addicted to this - trust me. Experiment and make it your own, and be sparing with the marinara.
9th-Dec-2007 07:36 pm (UTC)
jude this looks delicious. i'm going to give it a test run and perhaps take it to my orphan's christmas get together...

... and may i humbly request a favor? you know the "better than sex" raspberry\white chocolate concoctions you made a few years ago? do you still have that recipe? i want only the absolute best for my friends. :)
10th-Dec-2007 04:10 am (UTC)
It'll be a winner, I promise!

All that was was brownies with raspberries thrown into the batter with white chocolate chips. Really easy, use about 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries, 1/2 to 3/4 cup for fresh ones.
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