Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday: End-of-Summer Gratin

Please go to Shan's place for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.

"So we gotta say goodbye to the summer
baby I promise you this
I'll send you all my love
every day in a letter
Sealed with a kiss"

Okay, so my apologies to Bobby Vinton. OTOH, maybe he should apologize for writing one of the most insipid songs in pop history.

And yes, if I were really writing this to vegetables, it would be just plain creepy.

Nevertheless, the end of the summer it is. Our farm shares are winding down. End of summer treats, such as eggplant, are mixing with perfectly ripe tomatoes and the last of the basil, so I just had to do something... special.

I was also tired of posting others' recipes, even with my take on them, but this one is mine, Baby, all mine! (FWIW).

End-of-Summer Gratin


2 medium eggplants, the fresher, the better, sliced about 3/4" thick
1 large onion, sliced horizontally in 1" slices
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 16 oz. container of lowfat (or regular) ricotta
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan
10 fresh basil leaves, cut in ribbons (chiffonade)
1 egg
1 huge heirloom tomato, or 2 medium ones (and yes, a regular tomato will do)


1. Fire up the grill to about medium heat or the equivalent. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Salt and pepper eggplant slices on each side, and brush each side with olive oil. Brush the onion slices with olive oil, as well.

3. Grill eggplant and onion until slightly charred and tender.

4. While veggies are grilling, mix ricotta, egg, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 2 TBS of the parmesan. Set the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan aside.

5. When veggies are nice and tender, oil or spray a 9X12 dish, or the equivalent, and lay the eggplant slices on the bottom. It's fine if they overlap. On top of the eggplant, scatter the onion (breaking apart the rings). It should look like this:

6. Spoon the ricotta mixture on top and sprinkle the fresh basil, like this:

7. Then, layer the sliced tomato over all, like this:

8. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 25 minutes. Then remove foil, sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan, and in about 10 more minutes of baking, you should have this:



Goofball said...

stop depressing me with talks over the end of the summer....I'm still waiting for the summer to start. Sigh, it can't be over yet, it just can't. 2 days of sunshine every 4 weeks is not enough, I need moooooooooooooore!!!

So all meals with "end of summer" are forbidden on my menu. Sorry

Marianne Arkins said...

Oh man... PERFECT. I just got three eggplants from my in-laws and didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with them. No one else likes it.

But that recipe just might tempt them. If not, I'm okay with eating it all... *G*

Cynthia said...

FYI: I think "Sealed With A Kiss" was by Gary Lewis and the Playboys (son of Jerry Lewis)....not Bobby Vinton. It was a childhood favorite song of mine, for some reason, right along with "Pinball Wizard" by The Who. (what a combination)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Several vendors at the farmers' market have very nice looking eggplants and I needed a new recipe.


Unknown said...

What time do we eat?

anno said...

This looks fabulous! (Except, of course, I'd leave out the eggplant...) A perfect way to keep the summertime mood alive...

Flower Child said...

oh that looks soooooo tasty!

Flower Child said...

oh that looks soooooo tasty!

Alison Wonderland said...

Yum! And I have all that except the eggplant... and the cheese... and the basil... and I don't have enough tomatoes... and oh forget it.

glamah16 said...

Oh man that looks good. I actually am looking forward to fall food wise.Always looking for new ways with eggplant.

Jen said...

Goofball - my apologies! ;-) I LOVE the fall, though, so there you go...

Marianne - you will have NO trouble finishing this on your own, should that be necessary - it's good if you're a cheesy-veggie person (which I am).

Mom - that IS quite the combo. When I found the lyrics on the web they were attributed to Vinton, but probably erroneously. Sorry if I maligned your old fave.

I hope you enjoy it, NYC!

Greg, feel free to drop by with T any time!

Anno - do you like zucchini? That would work as well, I think.

So nice you had to say it twice, FC? ;-)

Alison, sounds like you need to go farmers marketing!

Glamah, I hope you enjoy it! Is this something CS would eat or is it too non-meaty?

thailandchani said...

Oh, gosh! Well, I admit to being none too unhappy about the prospect of the end of summer. Can't stand hot weather!

This looks delicious, of course.. and also looks like something I can have!


(I'll be in touch by the end of the week about The Shack. I have a few thoughts... :)


Momisodes said...

Whoa. Anything with ricotta, tomato and basil is decadence :)

I've been feeling quite sad about the end of summer, but I found myself a new coat last week, and I'm kind of looking forward to Fall!

Virtualsprite said...

Looks really delicious! I almost planted eggplant in my garden this year, but the thought of doing parmesan again makes me shudder (I hate frying things in a lot of oil). This looks very doable!

Korie said...

That look friggin amazing...I'm forwarding it to Hans right now cause he cooks way better than I do.

Jen said...

Chani, it's good even without all the cheese - even a little cheese would work.

Sandy, it is kind of decadent. It's so delicious, though!

Virtual - I'm so with you on frying - I made chile rellenos last night without frying, either. I can always find some kind of alternative, I think.

Lilac - it's really pretty easy. ;-)

Anonymous said...

::sigh:: I really miss dairy sometimes.

peter said...

Hell yeah. I'm totally doing that. It's like a garden, but with melted cheese on top. Everybody wins.

Núria said...

Wow Jen! Que rico!!!! I love all ingredients... but cheese! Well, nobody is perfect ;D

End of the summer? You should travel over here... September it's being hotter than August!!!!

Paola Westbeek said...

Wow! This sounds fantastic! Some of my favorite ingredients in one dish!


Jen said...

Amy and Nuria - sorry you can't do/don't like cheese. I think this would still taste good with no filling and oiled panko or garlic bread crumbs on top?

Peter - loved that comment!

Paola, me, too - that's why I put it together!

Brillig said...

Mmmm, it looks like the perfect summer meal!

Thistlemoon said...

That looks delicious Jen!

I am getting so jealous reading all these blogs, talking about the coming of fall. We get about 2 weeks of slightly cold weather here in FL :(

Guess that is way we go back to new England each fall to get our fix! Can't wait til October!

Heather said...

Oh, yay! End of summer harvest-y goodness. Next comes wild mushrooms, squash and stews. I'm so happy!

As soon as my toms get red (godspeed, little guys!), I'm making one of these cheesy gratins.

Luisa Perkins said...

Mmmm, what a great way to prolong the taste memories of summer!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Hi Jen, Love everything about this dish! Eggplant and ricotta, my 2 best friends!

La delirante said...

Your recipes always look gorgeous! I don't think I had ever seen eggplants here so I think that would kind of stop me from trying your recipe but I have tried a couple of your always wonderful and original recipes!

I enjoy checking out your "What's cookind Wednesday" even if through google reader when I am having a tough week at work. Keep it up!

Shan said...

That looks delicious!