Friday, September 25, 2015

Eggplant Gratin with Herbs and Crème Fraîche

I don't know about you, but some of the food I prepare is a result of what's about to near its expiration  date.  In this case, it was a container of crème fraîche in the fridge. It was a brand new package and I couldn't bear to throw it out unopened. Yet I was leaving for a trip and knew if I didn't use it before I left, it would be wasted. 
Remembering a recipe I had seen a while back that involved eggplants and crème fraîche. I had to give it a try. It did not disappoint. This recipe contains parmesan, but it's not eggplant parmesan. The crème fraîche turns it into a creamy gratin and it's a nice change from the classic dish. It's a great recipe to prepare ahead of time and even freeze for the future.
Slice the eggplant and smear both sides with some olive oil.
Place on the grill when it becomes hot, and grill the slices until there are nice grill marks and the eggplants are cooked through.
Make the cream sauce using the crème fraîche and the herbs.
Assemble the gratin, alternating eggplant slices, tomato sauce, and parmesan cheese.
                                       Pour the creamy herb sauce over everything.
             Finish by sprinkling extra parmesan on top, and bake in the oven for an hour at 375 degrees.
Sit down to a delicious dinner.

Eggplant Gratin with Herbs and Creme Fraiche
2 medium to large eggplant, sliced 1/2″ thick
salt & pepper
olive oil
3 Tbs. minced chives
3 Tbs. minced parsley
1 Tbs. thyme leaves
12 oz. creme fraiche or heavy cream
4 oz parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 375.  Season eggplant slices with salt and pepper.  Brush lightly with olive oil.  Heat a large skillet or griddle pan over med-high heat and fry eggplant slices in batches until golden on both sides.  Set aside while you prepare the creme fraiche.  Place creme fraiche or cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce to about 1 cup, then stir in half of the grated parmesan and all of the chopped herbs.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.  Oil a 9″ casserole or gratin pan and place eggplant inside in a single layer.  Cover with a thin layer of simple tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan.  Make two more layers of eggplant and sauce, covering the top with tomato sauce.  Ladle over the reduced creme fraiche or cream and sprinkle on a final layer of parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered until browned and bubbling, about 25-30 minutes.  Let rest briefly before serving.  Also delicious at room temperature.

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Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

First of all let me say this recipe looks wonderful -- even though it was a desperate measure to use up something before expiration and secondly -- that's where some of our best recipes come from. Wow!! I can't wait to make this. We did the same thing with ricotta -- we had to freeze it because we were going somewhere and we made ricotta gnocchi. Those were great. Do you think our folks did the same thing and that's where our great Italian recipes come from??? Can't wait to try your recipe. Have a safe journey and I can't wait to hear all about you trip :-)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Heavenly and comforting! A great end of summer dish.



Paola said...

Years ago my French Cooking Instructor, Lydie Marshall made a very similar dish, actually I had completely forgotten about it. Using what is on hand, nothing to waste - that is the essence of true Italian cooking.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I'm so making this! A nice twist and different from the usual

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Mmmmm--this looks delicious, Linda! It's always nice to find a new way to prepare eggplant.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I have a big eggplant in the frig that must have been waiting for me to see this :) It sounds wonderful!

Frank Fariello said...

There's something about a gratin that turns almost anything into comfort food. And, yes, I'm just like you—can't stand to see food go to waste.

Chiara Giglio said...

una splendida ricetta che voglio fare presto, grazie per averla condivisa Linda !

Grace H said...

Hi Linda,
this too is an amazing dish!
I didn't understand how to add myself to your followers, sorry! But I would love if you will add into mine... thanks!! :)
That’s amore

Debby Foodiewife said...

I admit, that eggplant hasn't been my favorite choice for an entree. The few that I've had were rubbery in texture, and I'm funny about that. This recipe has intrigued me, and I absolutely intend to try this version. I will let you know.