Saturday, March 8, 2014

Layered Eggplant and Spinach Casserole and my recipe for Tex - Mex Baked Eggplant!

This is a great alternative to the classic Eggplant Parmesan.
You'll need 2 sheet pans lined with foil and 1- 9"X13" baking pan brushed with Olive Oil

2 Eggplants (1 1/2pounds each) peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1- 12 ounce package of frozen Cut Leaf Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/4 C room temperature Ricotta Cheese
4 Eggs, beaten
1/2 C shredded fresh parmesan cheese
1 - 25oz. jar of your favorite Pasta Sauce
2 C shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
Arrange eggplant slices on the sheet pans and sprinkle with salt.
Drizzle them with olive oil.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside. Keep the oven temperature at 450 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the ricotta cheese until creamy.
Mix in the eggs until well combined.
Fold in the parmesan cheese and spinach.

Pour 1 1/4 C of pasta sauce into the prepared dish.
Arrange half of the eggplant slices over the sauce.
Spread the spinach over the eggplant.
Add another layer of eggplant.
Pout the remaining sauce on top.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 - 20  minutes.
Sprinkle with mozzarella and continue baking for an additional 10 - 15 minutes. The cheese should begin to be golden brown and the sauce bubbling.
Serve hot!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tex - Mex Baked Eggplant:

Eggplant, Vegetarian and Texan..... here's my recipe for Tex - Mex Eggplant.

I was just asked by a fellow foodie if I had a recipe for Eggplant that doesn't have a Marinara Sauce.
Although I love most Vegetarian Eggplant Recipes, I like this version as an alternative  to an Eggplant Parmesan or Eggplant Rollatini, two of my favorites.

I grow Parsley and Mint in my garden and always have it on hand.
Typically I would make this with Cilantro instead of Mint but it's a flavor that is not familiar to everyone and I don't always have it in my garden.

1/3 C vegetable oil
3 - 4 eggplants, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp red chile pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
1/4 C chopped fresh mint (or Cilantro)
juice and zest of 1 lime

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet on medium heat.
Cook eggplant in oil for 2-3 minutes on each side, in batches, just until browned
Place eggplant in a 9"X13" baking dish
Sprinkle with garlic and chile pepper flakes
Season to taste with salt and pepper

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes

In a small bowl:
lime juice and zest
Combine well

Serve eggplant topped with the lime and herbs

Thanks to my friend and cookbook author, Ellise Pierce ( Cowgirl Chef, Texas Cooking with a French Accent) my recipe for Tex - Mex Eggplant is part of her story about Eggplant in the Dallas Morning News today, 1/8/2014. I highly recommend her book. I took a class from her at Central Market in Southlake and she is so much fun to be around! We have a kindred spirit about France and Texas and the cuisine from both places. Thank you Ellise for including me in the article.

Peace in the Kitchen!

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