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Eggplant is a tricky vegetable-people either love it or hate. I fall into the former category-I love it’s gorgeous, deep purple hue and it’s wonderful, soft center. And I had six of these beauties in the frig as I planned my vintage dinner party so… I decided to take a chance and parade them out in a vintage dish.

My gamble paid off. Escalloped eggplant was well received! No doubt, the cream had something to do with it. Julia Child would have approved.

This recipe comes from the Golden Age Cookbook, published in 1898 by Henrietta Latham Dwight. The title refers to Dwight’s hope that turn of the century would usher in a “golden age” of vegetarianism. I admit to taking some liberties with the original recipe-I used more bread crumbs and spices. The original also calls for onion juice, which I dropped. And the original calls for topping the dish with breadcrumbs and butter *before* baking-personally, I think that is going a bit overboard.

This recipe is a departure from my standby uses for eggplant-either as part of ratatouille or fried in cornmeal. It would make a great addition to the Thanksgiving table!

There may be moments as you prepare it where you wonder why the heck you bothered-and whether it’ll turn out. Have faith-it’s really worth the effort!

Ingredients
• 6 small to medium size eggplant
• ½ cup bread crumbs
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1 tablespoon parsley
• 1 tablespoon Old Bay spice
• Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Slice the eggplant in half, lengthwise. Place the halves in a large stew pot and cover with water.

You’ll notice that eggplant is one of those vegetables that goes brown as soon as you cut it. Fear not-the color does not affect the flavor.

Boil on high until the flesh is pretty soft and the skin peels easily away from the flesh, about 30 minutes. (Warning: boiling eggplant does not smell very good). Drain and allow to cool.

Boiled and cooled eggplant

When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, use your fingers to remove the skin-throw it away. (Warning-peeling eggplant will temporarily stain your fingers).

You may wonder why I didn’t peel the eggplant before boiling. The peel actually keeps the flesh from overcooking. It comes off very easily anyway-it was less work that using a peeler.

Remove the seeds from the eggplant if you can. I did this by running my fingers along the seeded areas and popping them out in one section. I did end up with some seeds in the dish-it didn’t seem to have any impact on the final product so if you can’t get all the seeds out, don’t fret!

Run your thumb along the seeds and pop them right out of the flesh!

Cut the remaining flesh into bite size pieces and place them in a large bowl.

Peeled and deseeded

Mix them with the remaining ingredients.

Cream and spices and butter!

Turn the mixture into a greased casserole dish and bake it at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until it’s slightly brown and crusted. Serve!

Finished product!

As I said, it’s a very French dish-creamy and rich. My guests expressed surprise at how much they liked it. Enjoy!

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