Thanks to Farmhouse Table for this delightful recipe and reference to its author, Edna Lewis, the granddaughter of a former slave. According to her 2006 obituary in the New York Times, Edna's cookbooks "revived the near-forgotten genre of refined Southern cooking." harrumph These simple, flavorful, comforting dishes may have gone out of favor in New York and other far-flung places. To those of us who were born to this place and time, they are the essence of home and unforgettable.
Eggplant Gratin with Herbs and Creme Fraiche
2 medium to large eggplant, sliced 1/2″ thick
Salt & pepper
1 quart simple tomato sauce
3 tablespoons minced chives
3 tablespoons minced parsley
1 tablespoons thyme leaves
12 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
1. Preheat oven to 375. Season eggplant slices with salt and pepper.
Brush lightly with olive oil. Roast until starting to tan lightly. Turn and roast a few minutes more until both sides are golden.
2. While eggplant is roasting, prepare the cream sauce. Pour cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium
heat. Reduce volume 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.
3. 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 cream and sprinkle on a final layer of parmesan cheese.
4. Bake uncovered until browned and bubbling, about 25-30 minutes. Let
rest briefly before serving. Also delicious at room temperature.