Eggplant, roasted mushroom, red bliss, spinach bake

Eggplant mushroom bake

There are certain things in the world I like a lot. I think of these things as “Claire-y.” Otters, for instance, or green chairs with unexpected drawers, or boxes with little secret compartments and little bottles in them. These things are claire-y. I was trying to think of a way to describe this, and I kept coming back to the word claire-y. I love eggplant, mushrooms, spinach and potatoes. I love them cooked these ways, and I love them all together. I also seem to be drawn to odd dishes that defy definition and categorization. I’m not sure what to call this? Is it a gratin? A tian? A bake? A casserole? (For some reason a casserole seems like something my fourth grade teacher from the 70s would make. The one with the polyester suit and the glasses on a chain.) As I understand it, most of these words describe the dish it was baked in. But I don’t know what my dish is called! ACK! I decided to call it a bake. Because it’s baked. Here’s what it involves…thinly sliced vegetables, each prepared in a slightly different way, layered together with some cheese and baked. That’s about it. The potatoes are boiled, the eggplant is fried, the mushrooms are roasted, and the spinach is sautéed. It’s quite easy though! It sounds like a lot of steps, but they’re all pretty easy and quick. And then when it’s done, what is it? It’s hearty and satisfying enough to be a main course, but it also works quite well as a side dish. It’s whatever you want it to be, I guess!

Eggplant mushroom bake

Today friends, instead of finding a song about casseroles, tians or bakes, I’m going to post this song that has been haunting me. It’s so beautiful and plaintive. When a song like this is an earworm, it’s like having a little ghost howling in your head! It’s Tommy Johnson’s I Want Someone to Love Me.

3 medium-sized red bliss potatoes. (red bliss are pretty, buy any kind will do, really) washed, dried and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds. Drop in salted boiling water and boil around 7 minutes, till they’re soft but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.

3 smallish japanese eggplants. (You can alternately prepare these in the fashion of eggplant everybody loves. It will have more flavor, but take a little longer)
1 egg, beaten
2 or 3 T flour
black pepper
olive oil to fry

Peel strips of skin off. Cut the ends, and slice the rest into 1/4 inch rounds. Sprinkle with salt and let them sit about 1/2 an hour. Drop the eggplant slices into the beaten egg, and stir till they’re all lightly coated. Remove from the egg, and toss with the flour (mixed with black pepper), till they’re all lightly coated.

Warm the olive oil in a wok or saucepan, and when it’s hot enough to sizzle a breadcrumb, drop the eggplant slices in in small batches. Fry till both sides are nicely brown, and it seems crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon and set on plates lined with paper towels to drain.

10 oz white mushrooms or baby bella.
1 shallot, minced
2 T olive oil
2 t balsamic
1 t sage
1 t rosemary

Clean. Slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Coat with the olive oil, balsamic and herbs. Mix with the shallots. Roast at 425 for about 20 minutes, till a warm brown color and just starting to blacken and get crispy.

2 cups fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1 t basil
1 t oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T olive oil (you can use a bit of the oil leftover from frying the eggplant)

Warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and spices. Add the spinach, and sautée till just wilted.

To assemble…

Slice some mozzarella into very thin pieces. You’re going to start and end with the eggplant and mushrooms, because you want they’re nice denseness and flavor on the inside, but you want them on top as well, so they have a chance to stay crispy. So here we go…

In a small casserole, tian, or gratin dish, spread a thin layer of 1/2 the eggplant. Top with a layer of 1/2 the mushrooms, then 1/2 the potatoes, then 1/2 the spinach, then cheese, then potatoes, then spinach then cheese, then eggplant, then mushrooms, and you can put scatter some cheese on top, too. The inside layers don’t have to actually be in any particular order, and you can do as many layers of cheese as you like. But try to end with eggplant and then mushrooms.

Bake at 425 (preheated) for about 20 minutes to half an hour, till the cheese is melted and a little bubbly, and everything seems hot through.

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2 thoughts on “Eggplant, roasted mushroom, red bliss, spinach bake

  1. I was looking specifically for a recipe with eggplant, potatoes, and mushrooms — and your website popped up! Can’t wait to try it. Looks delicious.

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