Sunday, January 10, 2010

Eggplant Mushroom Casserole

I don't know why, but I've been craving an eggplant and mushroom dish for months. It's not as if I eat eggplant or mushrooms very often. I typically eat eggplant once per year. Mushrooms will come into the picture every once in a while. It's tough to eat anything vegetarian without running into a mushroom.

After researching on the internet, I found an Eggplant Casserole dish. What I love about cooking is that I can make changes without much fear that the end result will be inedible. I've run into that situation way too many times with cupcake creations.

I would apologize for my excessive use of pictures in this post...but:

1. Apparently some people don't actually read my blog, but "just look at the pictures".

2. I got a new digital SLR for Christmas and I've been really busy testing it out.

Suck it up!

So...back to eggplant & mushrooms...

Eggplant Mushroom Casserole
adapted from Best
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 in slices
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • oil for frying
  • 1 onion, quartered and sliced
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms (don't know the size but it's the standard blue package of sliced mushrooms)
  • 8 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or a handful fresh torn basil)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Ground pepper
  • 2 cups of your favorite grated cheese (mozzarella, provolone, etc...)
1) In a dish, beat the egg with the water until just combined.

2) Dip the eggplant slices in the egg, and then in the crumbs, coating both sides.

3) Fry slices in a little hot oil until brown on both sides. Leave to drain on paper towels.

4) Meanwhile, in another pan, saute the onions in oil until lightly browned.

5) Add mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, basil, water, salt, sugar, and pepper. Simmer until onions are tender.

6) Coat a large, shallow 9 x 11 in casserole dish with non-stick spray.

7) Place half the eggplant in the dish, trimmed to fit in a single layer, and top with half the tomato mushroom mixture.

8) Top with half of the cheese.

9) Add the remaining eggplant and then spread the rest of the tomato mushroom mixture over this.

10) Top with the remaining cheese.

11) Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top browns. Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Yum! Veggies galore! The vegetables were tender, the cheese was melted, and most importantly, the entire apartment smelled amazing. My roommate Kimmy agreed that the casserole was quite tasty, but then again she loves vegetables, so maybe she was biased from the start.

There are two things that would have made this dish even better for me:

1) Fresh basil: I didn't have any fresh basil on hand and didn't feel like buying half a plant just to get a few leaves. I used dried basil, but in hindsight, it might have been worth it to have some fresh herbs in there.

2) Cheese: I sound like a broken record. I know. But I could always use more cheese and this was no exception.

I know this dish isn't for everyone, but I'm having a personal need-more-vegetables period in my life. So there you have it. Eggplant and mushrooms have come together to satisfy my savory food cravings. Don't worry, cupcake lovers. They will be back again soon!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, that sounds very nice! I've experimented with eggplants and mushrooms too but in a much simpler way...I feel that one has to be very very careful with onions and garlic in this kind of dish because eggplants are very subtle-tasting and can be overwhelmed by too much of that sort of ingredient...Just my humble opinion...but then I live in Italy where the key to Italian cuisine is simplification. The Italians don't go for vast mixtures of stuff. Just look at the kind of pizza they do! Their favorite is the "Margherita" which has only tomato, mozzarella and basil. And very often, not even basil. The next big favorite is the "Napolitana" and that has the same ingredients plus a few (very few) anchovies.

    They're basically addicted to one veggie at a time, a combination of 2 or 3 at most but no more...This said, as I told you in this comment, your recipe sounds very good and I'll try it!