I love eggplant. It's such an exotic, royal looking fruit. There was a short period about two years ago when I bought it quite often. At first, my husband was excited and supportive. I made us ratatouille, and roasted eggplant with sausage and feta over polenta, and he was a little disappointed. To him, eggplant meant two things. Eggplant fritters or Eggplant Parmesan (okay, two closely related things). When I told him I was thinking about making an eggplant gratin for dinner this week, I had to list all the ingredients in the recipe and get his approval prior to going shopping. Apparently there was enough cheese to get the go ahead.
I made it last night, and all I can say is "OMG, it's so good!" It's one of those dishes that on first bite, you know you are going to add it to your recipe arsenal. It can't be considered healthy with over 4 oz of Parmesan cheese and 12 oz of cream, but there is a difference between healthy and wholesome. Everyone in my family loved this dish. Even Max, my pickiest eater, ate every bite. Okay, we did have to tell him that eggplant was the stegosaurus' favorite vegetable to get him to try it, but after the first bite, he needed no more encouragement. My husband is singing tonight so won't be home for dinner. I've never been so excited for leftovers!
There was also something else about making this dish yesterday, something a little more ethereal. I have recently read And I Shall Have Some Peace There by Margaret Roach and just yesterday finished Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery. Both books inspire a new way to look at nature and life and the complex joys simple things bring. Making this meal of fruits and vegetables and herbs on a bright, warm day took me to a summer over a hundred years ago.
You can find the recipe here at the beautiful blog, farm + house + table. I made the recipe exactly as written, no modifications necessary (although I did use a jar of store bought marinara for the simple tomato sauce). I can't wait to make it again.