A while back, I managed to get enough LexisNexis points to redeem them for Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. This made me a very happy camper, as I'd looked over the book in the library and found it impossible to pick just one recipe to copy down. It had been sitting in my bookshelf for a few months, though, before I decided to try a recipe for a cheesy eggplant with red wine tomato sauce. The verdict? Fantastic as expected. Like most of Madison's recipes, it isn't terribly complicated - roast some eggplant in the oven, make the tomato sauce, assemble with goat and mozzarella cheese, heat until cheese melts, top with sauce - but the tastes are fantastic and go perfectly together. The sauce especially is a hit - though I'm not a huge fan of tomato sauces generally, the red wine is really the star in this one. I made it separately and refrigerated until I made the dish a few days later, which worked fine.
Eggplant Rounds with Cheese and Red Wine Tomato Sauce
Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
2 eggplant rounds per person (I suggest using enough to fill up the final pan you're using)
3/4 cup grated or sliced mozzarella
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola, goat cheese, grated Fontina, or a mixture (I used goat and it was fabulous)
Chopped parsley or basil
Red Wine Tomato Sauce:
2 T olive oil
2 small onions, finely minced or grated
2 small bay leaves
6 thyme sprigs or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried savory (I omitted this)
pinch red pepper flakes
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry red wine (I used cabernet)
28 oz crushed tomatoes in puree (I used diced with a bit of the juice)
Salt and pepper
Grill, broil, or fry your eggplant slices. I just roasted them in the oven, and I used a single layer in the small roasting pan I later used to do the cheese part. I think next time I would use about twice as much eggplant and just do them on separate pans before throwing all in the same pan for the cheese.
For the sauce, start by heating the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, herbs, and pepper flakes and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for fifteen minutes. Add garlic during last few minutes. Raise the heat, add the wine and half a cup of water, and simmer until reduced by half, 12-15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 35 minutes. Keep an eye on this. In my experience, everything was pretty dark thick after twenty minutes, but I think that has to do with my tomato substitution. Next time if I'm using diced tomatoes (which I like), I'll add all of the juice from the can. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
Put the eggplant slices on a sheet pan (or roasting pan) and cover with the cheeses. Bake at 375 until the cheese melts. Serve with 2-3 spoonfuls of sauce per serving and garnish with the herb.