I love the new Cooking Channel, while it doesn’t have the depth of Food Network, I feel like someday soon it will have more quality programming. So I was watching French Food at Home, and eggplants was the focus, here’s the recipe I based my dish on with some changes to make it my own. This was my very first time cooking with eggplant, and while I made a couple minor mistakes, overall I was very pleased with the effort. The flavor is very rich, custardy-flavor almost with a kick from the cumin and nice crispy edges, very cheesy too like a lasagna. This could actually be a good gluten-free option with the eggplant replacing the pasta, and substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs on the top. We started out the meal with my new recipe, salami bruschetta, and then popped open a malbec to pair with the “lasagna.” We had some leftover tomatoes and basil from the bruschetta that added a nice fresh flavor if added to the lasagna. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I’m excited about cooking with eggplant more in the future.
The result: 1 14×8″ pan of eggplant and cumin lasagna (or charlotte), about 6 servings
- 3 good-sized eggplants (aubuergine, which pretty much means purple eggplant)
- Olive oil (for brushing)
- 3 eggs
- 1-2 tbsp cumin
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 4 ounces mascapone cheese
- Asiago cheese (can substitute parmesan)
- 1-2 tbsp butter
- Pinch of garlic powder and onion powder
- 1/4-1/2 cup of bread crumbs (can sub gluten-free bread crumbs or different topping)
- Fresh ground salt and pepper
Peel 2 eggplants, slice 2 eggplants 1/4-1/2″, try to keep as uniform as possible to ensure even cooking. Brush both sides of sliced eggplant with olive oil, grind a little salt and pepper over both sides. Broil until soft and golden, about 10-15 minutes, they will cook more later so don’t get crispy.
Slice the last eggplant in half with skin on, brush olive oil, salt and pepper on cut side, place cut side down on a pan and bake on 375 degrees F until very soft, about 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven, scoop out insides of eggplant to a mixing bowl and add mascapone, let cool for a few minutes. Add half and half, cumin, eggs, and a few grinds of salt and pepper, mix well.
In a cooking pan brushed with olive oil, put down one layer of the sliced eggplant to mostly cover bottom, pour the egg, cheese and eggplant mixture over the top to cover evenly, sprinkle a layer of goat cheese, add the last layer of sliced eggplant on the top. Bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes.
While the “lasagna” is cooking, heat up the butter and cover the bread crumbs with butter, then add some finely grated asigago cheese, mix well. After the lasagna has cooked for 20-25 minutes, top with the breadcrumbs mixture, put back into oven and cook until golden brown on top and the “lasagna” has set underneath with the egg mixture, don’t overcook though to avoid rubbery texture. Let rest for about 5 minutes, then dish it out, can top with some fresh parsley or other herbs to really kick in some fresh flavor. Serve with a semi-dry to dry wine and enjoy! Surprisingly good, between 4 of us we demolished the whole pan in one sitting watching the new premiere of South Park. I crisped the eggplant slices when I broiled them so be careful not to do that. The lasagna really sets well and has a nice creamy texture in the middle with a good crunch provided by the bread crumbs and outer edges.