Wow, I've been away from this blog for quite awhile. It's not that I haven't been cooking!
This recipe is a little of this and a little of that, making it up as I went along. But the result was really good - a meatless entrée that filled our tummies with satisfying goodness. Rich tomato sauce, eggplant slices with a bit of kale from the garden and cheese in between, topped with a little more cheese - who needs meat?
There are a few steps to this recipe, especially if you make your own tomato sauce, which I did. I won't give you a recipe for that, I'm sure everyone has their favorite. It should be a nice thick chunky sauce, whether you buy it in a jar or cook it up yourself and fill the kitchen with delectable fragrance. But the recipe can be made ahead, and even frozen for future baking.
Eggplant and Kale Bake
1 large eggplant, washed, sliced crosswise in 1/2 inch slices
2 cups of washed, coarsely chopped kale (Spinach or Swiss chard would also work)
2-3 cups of thick tomato sauce
1 cup fresh cheese (ricotta) I used a fresh cheese from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, just down the road)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (or Fontina)
Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil. Place them in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees until tender, turning them over once. This will take 20-30 minutes in total.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the kale and simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain well. Cool. Press out any remaining water.
Combine the fresh cheese, kale, egg, Parmesan cheese, oregano and basil until well mixed.
In an 8 inch square baking pan, spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Place slices of eggplant over to cover. Top with 1/2 of the kale cheese mixture. Spoon 1/2 - 3/4 cup of the tomato sauce over. Repeat layers. Top with a final layer of eggplant slices and the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the grated Monterey Jack cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and hot throughout.
Makes four generous servings.