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Egg is for Eggplant

Written By Culinary Pen on Sunday, September 14, 2008 | 1:18:00 PM

This past Labor Day weekend, I went home to help my parents with canning up their surplus vegetables. We had gobs of heirloom tomatoes, romas, but there were also a lot of green tomatoes still on the vine, which weren’t getting any riper with the cooler weather. We ran a large batch of hot green tomato relish—something new to us—that I’ve found to be delicious inside a turkey and goat cheddar quesadilla.

The most interesting thing we made that weekend, however, was a strange mash-up dish that was half eggplant parmesan and half quiche. Luckily we also had a surplus of eggplant, and decided to give thee dish a whirl. You start by making basic breaded and fried eggplant, then layering them in a casserole dish filled with tomato sauce, then alternating with basil, mozzarella slices, and more sauce.

Next, you whip up 9 eggs and season them with salt and pepper. Add a small amount of milk, then pour everything over the eggplant casserole. You can see in the photo the little wall we built around the edge to keep the eggs in. Top with more Grana Padano and mozzarella, then bake it all for 45 minutes.

I was really surprised with how light this was, as it sounded like an incredibly rich, heavy dish more suited to winter than summer. We baked it using the stove’s convection setting, so the eggs fluffed perfectly as they cooked. Texturally, while it could be cut with a fork and maintain its body, it was very light. Along with the eggs, I think this was also due to the fact that the eggplant wasn’t heavily fried in oil, as they did most of their cooking in the oven. And we used fresh eggplant, not old stock.

All in all, a very happy experiment!


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