January 15, 2012

Diveats - Eggplant Gratin (In Mini Dishes!!)

I feel like I haven't cooked anything epic recently. Which is unfortunate and annoying, because I have made some attempts recently. One of which was a recipe for short ribs that I spent 3 days making, took 40+ pictures, and burnt the hell out of my hand for, and they were, in a word, terrible. Terrible as in, inedible. Not just not up to great standards.

This recipe was much better. Although I still want to make them again with my own adaptations to make them even better. I made this recipe for Eggplant Gratin by Barefoot Contessa in some very petite and inexpensive Le Creuset dishes I found on sale at Williams Sonoma.

Start with an eggplant. I don't know how much it weighs when sliced, I just went with one. Beautiful, no?

Then make this incredible sauce.
As usual with with Ina's recipes I nix the fatty fatty ingredients and just use what I have and what doesn't make me feel like I am going to die on the spot from heart failure. That meant in this recipe that I nixed the half and half for skim milk and omitted the full-fat Ricotta for goat cheese, because I had it and because I like it much better.

(Enter a complex story about my former obsession with manicotti at Elizabeth's Pizza in Greensboro, NC and my affection for track suits as a pre-teen. Long story short, I ordered my usual manicotti, it came piping hot, and somehow got spilled down the sleeve of my track suit, trapping itself in my sleeves and forever ruining my taste for ricotta stuffed shells.

The recipe and the episode of Barefoot Contessa says to fry the eggplant slices like this...

Until they look like this:

I found that to be too greasy and would probably even steam them next time before adding them to the dishes. Then the fun starts.

Layer with eggplant, marinara, more eggplant and Parmesan cheese, and then the sauce.

And then more cheese. Don't forget, this is an Ina recipe after all!

I put mine in a baking dish because I just knew that cheese mixture was going to explode over in some fashion. Indeed it did.

And then I baked it until it became golden and crispy and luscious like this:

Once again, at a different angle:

T'was glorious. But also was too greasy. Like I said, next time I'm going to steam them for a less greasy outcome.

I mean, I have to make this again. I bought the dishes on sale, but it was $6.99 a pop. I have to make at least $13.98 worth of deliciousness to make myself feel OK about buying the mini dishes.

It's a tough job, but some whitey's gotta do it!

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