Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rosie Makes An Eggplant Casserole.

Rosie's garden is producing beautiful purple eggplants now and every summer I turn to Mama Hawthorne's recipe for eggplant casserole. Mama Hawthorne had a huge deep freeze in the basement, probably 3 x 5 feet and 4 feet deep, and it was always filled with these eggplant casseroles, along with squash casseroles, snap beans, black eyed peas, beets, and butter beans from Daddy Hawthorne's garden.
Here's some eggplanty goodness.
I'm adapting Mama Hawthorne's recipe to adjust for what I have.
 Rosie's Ingredients for Eggplant Casserole:
1 large eggplant
1 medium Japanese eggplant (ichiban), not shown
1 medium onion, chopped
3 eggs (Yes, I can count. I added the third egg when I added the extra ichiban.)
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 package Ritz crackers
 pats of butter (not shown)
First, peel and dice the eggplant into small cubes.
 Place in a colander and toss with Kosher salt.
 The purpose of the salt is to draw moisture out of the eggplant.
Set the colander in a dish and let the eggplant drain for about 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally. I've chopped the onion, grated the cheese, have my eggs (3) lined up, and my crackers (1/2 package Ritz) in a row.
Here's how much liquid has been released in about 25 minutes.
Dry the eggplant a bit on paper towels.
Saute the eggplant and onion over medium high heat in 1 tablespoon each ELBOO and LOLUB (That's Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil and Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter! We're talking mainstream culinary lexicon now.) for about 2-3 minutes.
Stir occasionally.

Pour the eggplant and onion mixture into a large bowl and add the grated cheese. Reserve a few tablespoons of cheese for topping.
Stir in the beaten eggs.
Spread the mixture in a buttered 9 x 13 inch pan.
Crush and sprinkle the Ritz over top.

Sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with pats of butter.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes.
The top should be a toasty golden brown
and you don't want any jiggling.
 Let sit for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.
I can't describe the taste of eggplant.
 That's a rather elusive flavor to me.
 But I do describe this dish as comforting.
It's Mama Hawthorne's.
Please enjoy.

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