It hasn’t worked for me with kale or spirulina, but I’m willing myself to love eggplant. As you know, if you have been reading this blog, eggplant and I have a fraught relationship–a bit like Donald and Melania. Eggplant recipes, especially ones that tout their world-class deliciousness, reach out to me but I don’t always reach back.
This is a very good recipe, again one adapted from the pages of The New York Times. The Times, by the way, has launched its food pages as a separate subscription service. For $5 per month, you can access thousands of recipes from great chefs like Martha Rose Schulman, Melissa Clark and David Tanis. It is a bargain, believe me. I read a lot of food sites (insomniac that I am) and the quality and breadth of the NY Times recipe archive is exceptional.
Here is the eggplant recipe. I loved it. My neighbors Gene and Sarah loved it. You will, too.
Yields 6 Servings
- 1 1/2 pounds eggplant (sliced into rounds about 1/3 inch thick)
- Salt to taste
- 3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 C. cooked Israeli couscous
- 8 ounces fresh spinach (or more)
- 2 C. Julia Child's tomato sauce provencale ( Julia Child's Tomato Sauce Provencale )
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese (grated--about 1/2 C. tightly packed)
- 6 ounces grated mozzarella cheese (or more)
- 3 ounces feta cheese or ricotta
- Chiffonade-cut fresh basil to garnish
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with a little oil.
- Slice eggplant and toss it in salt and 1 T. oil. Place your eggplant slices on your prepared baking sheet. Roast eggplant slices in your oven for 15 minutes. When done, the tops of the eggplant slices will look dry and you will be able to easily pierce the slices with the tines of a fork. Remove the tray of eggplant slices from the oven and, wearing heat-proof gloves, fold the sides of the foil up and over the eggplant to make a sealed packet. Let the packet of eggplant slices sit for 15 minutes; this will permit your eggplant to cook a bit more.
- Reduce heat in your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Oil a gratin dish. Prepare Israeli couscous by putting it in a large heated saucepan over medium-high heat. Toast the couscous until it just begins to take on come brown color and it is aromatic. Quickly, add two quarts of water and salt to taste. Boil for 10 minutes. The couscous pasta should be al dente but not mushy when it is ready and there will still be plenty of water in your pan when the couscous is cooked. Drain the couscous and rinse with cool water. Return the drained couscous to the cooking pot, cover it with a dishtowel and the pot lid and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Put prepared couscous in a large bowl and add 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Spoon the couscous and tomato sauce mixture into your prepared gratin dish to make a layer.
- Boil water and briefly immerse spinach in the water. Drain spinach, being sure to squeeze out as much water as possible once the spinach has cooked. Spread a thin layer of the spinach over the couscous. Sprinkle crumbled feta or ricotta on top of the spinach layer.
- Arrange cooked eggplant slices on top of the spinach/couscous/cheese layer. Spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the eggplant and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and grated mozzarella. Sprinkle a scattering of chiffonade sliced fresh basil leaves.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. The dish should be browned and bubbling when it is finished. Let the dish sit on your counter for 15 minutes before serving.
The original recipe omitted the spinach layer, the feta cheese and the mozzarella. The recipe is very forgiving. As I prepared leftovers, I put a portion of the eggplant gratin in an individual baking dish and grated more mozzarella on the dish. I covered it in foil and baked it at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Pretty wonderful.
This is my adaptation of a Martha Rose Schulman recipe from The New York Times and the Tomato Sauce Provencale recipe I posted earlier in the week. Here is the link to the original recipe: NY Times: Israeli Couscous, Eggplant and TomatoGratin .