Entrees - Phase 1 - EGGPLANT GRATIN with Feta Custard and Parmesan




tar118
01-10-2013, 02:06 PM
SLIGHTLY adapted by me from:

"Passionate Vegetarian" by Crescent Dragonwagon

Cooking spray
2 medium-large eggplants, thinly sliced and soaked in salt water for 15 minutes
1/2 cup grated low fat parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 ounces neufchâtel reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
2 teaspoons arrowroot
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
Several gratings of fresh nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 oz. low fat feta cheese
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves (optional)
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (SB friendly)

1. Rinse salt water off the eggplant. Put on a cookie sheet (sprayed with cooking spray), cover with foil, and bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until softened.

2. In a food processor combine olive oil, parm cheese, garlic, and parsley. Pulse until garlic is chopped. Put into a small bowl.

3. Do not wash food processor. Combine cream cheese, egg, arrowroot, and 2 T of the evap skim milk. Pulse until smooth. Add the rest of the evap skim milk.

4. Place half the eggplant in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan, top with tomato sauce and fresh basil leaves (if using), then the rest of the eggplant. Pour custard over the eggplant then sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese topping. Bake for 30 min. or until custard is firm.


***I eliminated the bread crumbs, replacing with parmesan cheese and subbed low fat feta for ricotta salata. This is amazing. Precooking the eggplant softens it so the skin is not hard at all. The custard firms up while cooking and tastes very decadent. I made this originally because it was much easier than traditional eggplant parm (breading and frying all that eggplant) but it is also much, much tastier. I was shocked.


Ruthxxx
01-10-2013, 02:38 PM
Number of servings, please. Looks yummy.

Remington90
01-10-2013, 04:13 PM
Number of servings, please. Looks yummy.

x2. I love a recipe that takes a little more.


Schmoodle
01-11-2013, 02:02 PM
This looks very good, I think I'll try it with goat cheese for the feta (personal preference). Anything eggplant is okay by me.
Why do you think the eggplant is soaked first? I've seen eggplant salted to draw out the water, but it seems it would soak up more water this way. Just curious, I haven't seen a recipe call for that before.

mnemosyne
01-11-2013, 02:32 PM
Why do you think the eggplant is soaked first? I've seen eggplant salted to draw out the water, but it seems it would soak up more water this way. Just curious, I haven't seen a recipe call for that before.

Both salting and soaking in salted water are supposed to draw out the bitterness. See Saveur (http://www.saveur.com/article/Techniques/Removing-the-Bitterness-from-Eggplant) for a discussion of methods and then check out the NY Timesfor a fun explanation of why salting works. Apparently salt trumps bitter on our palates.

(The Times link didn't work, but here: http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/salt-trumps-bitter/)

(Also: this is a step I often skip unless I am grilling/roasting eggplant. I don't find most eggplants to be all that bitter, although I do salt them reasonably well.)

Schmoodle
01-11-2013, 09:54 PM
Hmm, the Times article makes sense. Yeah, I don't usually salt either, only if I feel I've got a very large or old eggplant. My grandmother has always salted her melon to make it sweeter. thanks for the info!

monasmom
01-13-2013, 12:00 PM
What is the arrowroot for?

Ruthxxx
01-13-2013, 12:09 PM
Thickening.

EmmaD
01-13-2013, 01:58 PM
Oh my GOSH this sounds great.

RE: Servings, I looked up the recipe here (http://www.freshdirect.com/cg_meal_item_detail.jsp?recipeId=rec_wk_eggplnt_gr tn_rctta&variantId=rec_wk_eggplnt_grtn_rctta_default) and it says 4 as a main dish, 6 as an side. Nice!