The Cook Awakening

Eggplant Gratin with Sun-Dried Tomato Marinara

October 23, 2011
Posted in: Recipes

Eggplant is a funny vegetable. I love the color and the flavor, but I’m a little uncertain about the health factors. They’re nightshades with not too much going for them otherwise. The other nightshades I indulge in sometimes – tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a potent antioxidant. Potatoes I avoid anyway, as too starchy. Peppers are also rich in antioxidants, and I eat them occasionally. But eggplant I don’t generally seek out.

My husband put some in the garden this summer, though, and tonight brought in a couple of the last little purple teardrops still hanging.

No more babaganoush, he’d asked a few weeks ago. No more breaded and fried, I thought. The minted salad I’d made a couple weeks ago with fresh tomato, blanched green beans, walnuts, raw olives and sheep feta was wonderful, but I didn’t want to repeat it.

So, I did what I often do when I’m stuck for ideas. I googled eggplant.

Gratin came up as a possibility, and I ran with it. Great for autumn. It looks a little complicated, but it actually came together pretty easily – slice and fry, blend a few ingredients, whisk a couple things and layer it. Bake until it bubbles. Done.

Not the best picture perhaps, but I had to stop an incredible forward momentum with the family to finish it off. Fabulous dish.

Eggplant Gratin with Sun-Dried Tomato Marinara

    Eggplant Gratin with Sun-Dried Tomato Marinara


  • 2 medium sized eggplants
  • ghee, bacon grease or other fat for frying eggplant
  • 1/3 cup drained sundried tomatoes in olive oil
  • Enough broth to liquefy the tomatoes in a blender
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • A handful of basil
  • 1 cup coconut milk, Natural Value preferred
  • 1 egg
  • Celtic sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • Optional – 1/2 pound sautéed ground beef or lamb
  • Optional – ½ cup fake parmesan cheese
  • (½ cup raw nuts or seeds of choice)
  • (2 Tbsp nutritional yeast)
  • (1 tsp Celtic sea salt)
    (process in a food processor until sandy in texture)

    Slice eggplants about 1/3 inch thick. Salt lightly. Fry in batches in about 1/8 inch of cooking fat in a cast iron or ceramic coated non-stick skillet, until the pieces are cooked through and slightly browned. Add oil as needed. Set aside.

    Place tomatoes, broth, garlic and basil and a little salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

    Whisk the coconut milk and egg together with a little salt and pepper. Set aside.

    If using, cook the ground meat in a little ghee, tallow or other cooking fat.

    To assemble: make layer of eggplant in the bottom of a greased gratin dish. Sprinkle on the meat, if using. Pour on the tomato sauce. Make another layer of eggplant. Pour the coconut milk mixture over all. Sprinkle on the chopped parsley. Top with fake parmesan, if using.

    Bake at 400F for ½ hour or until the topping is set and golden, and the gratin is bubbling. Serve hot.

    Serves 4

    Let me know if you try it!

    This entry was posted on Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 at 4:53 am and is filed under Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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