Sunday, January 25, 2009

CSA week eight - Eggplant casserole rehabilitated

No point in wasting good food or even food that isn't so good I figure so I wanted to see if I could salvage my unpleasantly heavy eggplant casserole.

The process was hindered somewhat by the casserole already being assembled and cooked. It would have been nice to be able to disassemble the casserole into its component parts. Failing that I decided to chop it up into little squares, dump them into a bowl and mash it all up into a big pile of eggplanty, sausagey, cheesy glunk.

Then I boiled up nine whole wheat lasagne noodles and made a simple tomato sauce spiked with the fresh oregano and thyme from this weeks CSA share, red pepper flakes plus a good dose of red wine vinegar for some acidity to cut through all the oil. I also wanted to add some greens so I prepared the komatsuna and turnip leaves along with some baby spinach I had in the fridge. I didn't want to add any more fat so I wilted them in the pasta water instead of in a pan. Should have added the zucchini too? Nah.

Everything went into the baking dish in the standard way: a layer of tomato sauce, a layer of noodles, half the glunk, half the greens, more sauce, more noodles, the rest of the glunk, the rest of the greens, the final three noodles, the rest of the sauce and a bit of leftover cheese and some fresh grated Parmesan.

And into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes to get it all melty and bubbling again.

The result is a substantial improvement. There's no indication that the dish had a previous incarnation. The over-powerful cheese is now nicely balanced with the other flavors and textures. It's just a passable but undistinguished lasagne. But that sure beats a barely edible casserole.


LaDivaCucina said...

Very clever and it looks much more appealing. (Don't you hate when a dish tastes good but doesn't "present" so well?)

kat said...

Now that is a great save!