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
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.
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.