As I helped clear the Retreat lunch tables, one of the leaders, a good friend (and one of my most honest) looked up at me with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. “Delicious, Sister Irene,” he said, “But why is it that people in general seem to think that the only way to cook eggplant is with tomatoes?” Well, here was a question I’d never before been asked that made me stop and think. I didn’t feel it was a complaint or criticism so much as a challenge. He appeared to have enjoyed my eggplant Parmesan because his plate was clean. He’d even had a second helping!
His forthrightness set me on a course that expanded my eggplant repertoire. Up until then I had pretty much settled for recipes I’d felt comfortable making and knew most people liked. But he was a Southerner and his tastes were more towards creamy-styled dishes than Mediterranean. I asked him for suggestions and then launched into an exploration of tomato-less eggplant dishes. After trying multiple ones I settled on several favorites that I’ve stuck with over the years, this being one that both he and I like—you may, too.
CHANGE SERVING SIZEservings
- 2 eggplant large
- 2 or more tbsp. butter
- 3 egg yolk(s) slightly beaten
- ½ cup thin cream or rich milk
- Onion salt to taste
- black pepper ground, to taste
- ½ cup bread crumbs soft
- 4 egg white(s)
- 2 tbsp. almond(s) blanched, toasted, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. bread crumbs toasted
- Cook eggplants in 2 quarts salted, slightly boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender.
- Remove skins and mash pulp; add 2 Tablespoons butter, yolks, cream, and season to taste with onion salt and pepper.
- Soak bread crumbs in milk and squeeze crumbs in a dry cloth to remove moisture.
- Add crumbs to eggplant.
- Fold in egg whites and turn into generously buttered soufflé dish.
- Sprinkle with almonds mixed with the same amount of toasted bread crumbs and a little melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
- Serve immediately in the baking dish.