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Aubergine!

September 2, 2011
Eggplant souffle

Aubergine, melongene, guinea squash…  Eggplant!  This shiny purple, plump fruit can be prepared in a multitude of ways: eggplant parmesan, moussaka, baba ganoush, deep fried, grilled – so many options to choose from!  You may have heard you need to first salt and rinse (“degorge”) the eggplant slices to get rid of the bitterness; however, the newer breeds of eggplant are barely or not at all bitter, so you can skip this step entirely (Factoid: the bitterness is caused by a substance similar to nicotine, as the eggplant is closely related to tobacco!).  The  only time I can really recommend degorging the slices is if you plan to fry the eggplant, as this procedure will reduce the amount of oil it will take up. This recipe shows a simple but spectacular way for eggplant, and allows for a number of modifications to suit your taste.

First, I sprayed a small Pyrex glass dish with cooking spray and preheated the oven to 350 degrees.  You can use souffle dishes or ramekins as well.  Then I placed 2 strips of bacon, cut in half, in the dish to cover the bottom.

Bacon

Cover the bottom in bacon

Onto that came a thick (1/4″ or so) slice of eggplant that I spiced with garlic salt, black and white pepper, nutmeg, thyme and rosemary.  I covered that with a slice of honey ham, and added another slice of parmesan, similarly spiced.  Of course, you can always change the meat used to any other “sandwich” filling: chicken, turkey, even salami!  I’m personally in love with bacon on the bottom, but that, too, can be omitted or replaced with another slice of lunch meat or turkey bacon.

Spiced eggplant

Spice each slice of eggplant

I topped the little dish off with some wonderful, fresh and organic sweet Fresno onions, but you can also add tomato slices, mushrooms, peppers or even shrimp or crab meat.

I put the dish in the oven and baked the eggplant base for about 20-25 minutes, until I felt no resistance upon inserting a toothpick into the eggplant.  As I was waiting for that, I prepared the topping:  I whisked together 2 large eggs with about 1/4 c milk and a dash of salt and pepper.  I also added about 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, and allowed the mixture to reach room temperature.  This is needed for the safety of your dishes: an excessive heat change, like adding fridge-cold ingredients to a piping hot dish may cause these heat-safe glass and porcelain wares to crack; always be careful when adding new ingredients, especially liquids!

When the eggplant base was ready, I poured the egg mix on top, and sprinkled it with shredded Cheddar cheese, and popped it right back into the oven.

Oven, round 2

Ready for the oven, round 2

It took the eggs about 10-15 minutes to cook through and rise nicely, with the cheese melted and slightly browned on the top.  If you’d like the cheese to brown a little more, you can turn the oven over to the broiler for the last minute or two, but be sure to check first if your dish is actually safe under the broiler!

Eggplant souffle

Eggplant souffle

This eggplant souffle is easy to prepare, and doesn’t need a lot of special ingredients – and tastes just great!

Enjoy your meal!

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