Eggplant Gratin (Serves 2)
Copyright 2007, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved
Photo: Courtesy of Food Network
Good olive 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 good bottled marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat about 1/8 inch of olive 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.