EGGPLANT GRATIN WITH SAFFRON CUSTARD

eggplantGratin

By Chef Linton Hopkins

2 pounds Globe or Japanese eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil
⅔ cup diced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon savory or oregano
2½ pounds peeled, seeded, chopped tomato
2 eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese
¾ cup cream
2 milliliters or ½ teaspoon saffron threads
4 ounces Parmesan
10 leaves fresh basil
3 ounces pecorino Romano

Peel and slice eggplant ¼ inch thick. Lightly baste with olive oil on both sides and bake at 460° for 4–5 minutes on a mesh tray. Set aside to cool.

To prepare the sauce, sauté onion, garlic and herbs in olive oil. Add tomato and cook until thick. Season with salt and pepper. To prepare the custard, beat eggs; add ricotta, cream, saffron and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble starting with a little tomato sauce on bottom of pan. Then layer eggplant, sauce, pecorino and basil. The top layer should be just eggplant. Pour custard over all. Allow to set and bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

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