Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Eggplant Pie or Casserole

I’m calling this dish Eggplant Pie because it cut so nicely and reminded me of a slice of pie.

I impulsively buy eggplant whenever I see it at the grocery store (because I love it) even though I’m the only member of my immediate family that eats eggplant – which means that, most probably… I will have to eat it all myself. That’s really not a problem, because as I mentioned earlier, I love eggplant and I’m always looking for new ways to cook it.
 As I state every time I write a post about eggplant, it’s a love it or hate it vegetable, I think it’s a texture thing for most people, because it really doesn’t have much of a flavor.

I decided to layer the eggplant, roma tomatoes, mozzarella, feta and marinara sauce in a spring form pan, which cooked up into a beautiful – sliceable - stack of deliciousness.  You could keep it simple, as I did, or you could add extra layers (zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, onions) or even thinly sliced potatoes.  As I say with a lot of my recipes, play with your food and make it your own.
The eggplant takes a little bit of effort (because I blanch it, then bake it) but it will be worth the extra effort in the end. The blanching helps to remove the bitterness and the baking helps to dry it out.

EGGPLANT PIE or Casserole
2              large      eggplants, sliced thin
6 – 9       whole   roma tomatoes, sliced
28           oz.can   Marinara sauce (I used trader joe’s)
4              oz.          feta, crumbled
8              oz.          mozzarella, shredded
1              tsp.        oregano or Italian seasoning

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the sliced eggplant; then turn down the heat to a simmer and let the eggplant cook for just about 3 min.

Drain the eggplant in a colander; then place them on a lightly oiled sheet pan in a single layer and bake the eggplant for about 3 - 5 minutes to dry them out. This step will allow the eggplant to hold together better, making it easier to slice after its cooked.

When all the eggplant is cooked; layer in either a 10 in. springform pan or a 9 X 13 casserole dish in this order- starting from the bottom;
1/3 of the eggplant
1/3 of the tomatoes
1/3 of the marinara sauce
1/3 of the oregano or Italian seasoning
1/3 of the feta cheese
1/3 of the mozzarella cheese
Repeat to make 3 layers.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 min. 
Let stand for 20 – 30 min. before serving so it can set up.

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