This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe (Ina Garten). I absolutely LOVE her recipes. As a matter of fact, Ina’s one of my cooking idols.
I love eggplant and always look for new ways to prepare it. I swapped the ingredient olive oil out of the original recipe, and put in its place grapeseed oil, which I prefer because of it’s higher flashpoint (tolerance to heat). Serve this alone or as a side dish with a lean protein.
grapeseed oil, for frying
¾ pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2 inch thick
¼ cup ricotta cheese
1 extra-large egg
¼ cup half-and-half
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 tablespoons, divided
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup marinara sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat about 1/8 inch of oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat it, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
- In each of two individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon half of the marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top.
- Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.