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Aubergine a la Creme

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I don’t want to say that I hate eggplant, but I would really rather not eat it. So it was to my dismay when I saw how many recipes in my grandmother’s notebook called for eggplant. The vegetable has a beautiful color and a funny shape, so that is two things going for it. But the taste is not something I would call an asset for that vegetable.

But this post shouldn’t be about how much I hate – sorry, strongly dislike – eggplant. This post should be about how much this dish tasted like home. Many Haitian recipes call for some combination of evaporated milk, cheese, mustard, tomato paste, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. I grew up with those flavors. Now when I eat something with only two or three seasonings or herbs, the taste feels empty. With this recipe for aubergine a la creme (eggplant in a cream sauce), each bite was a burst of various flavors that blended so smoothly together. Dare I say, the strong taste of sauce maybe even helped mask the taste of the eggplant?

Because my husband is Italian-American and because sausage and eggplant are paired so frequently in Italian cuisine, I sauteed spicy and sweet Italian sausages in a tomato paste (with some water added to dilute the thickness) with garlic, onion and parsley seasonings to serve alongside this eggplant dish.

Ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Yellow mustard
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Parsley
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (that I swapped out for cream of chicken since my husband hates mushrooms)
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • grated cheese

Once again, my grandmother didn’t leave detailed instructions so here is what I did:

  1. Slice up one large eggplant into whatever size slices you prefer and saute them in olive oil, with both sides of each slice seasoned with salt and pepper. Remove and place on a plate for later.
  2. Cut up an onion julienne style and saute in the pan in butter.
  3. Fine chop garlic (I almost always use a minimum of 10 cloves because I love garlic) and a bunch of parsley (although, I use dried parsley this time around) and add to the pan of sauteing onion.
  4. Add to the pan several big squirts of yellow mustard, salt and pepper, and a little vinegar (I used red wine vinegar).
  5. Mix in the cans of cream of mushroom (or chicken) and tomato soup, some of evaporated milk (not the whole can) and as much grated cheese as you’d like.
  6. In a greased baking dish, layer the sauce, then the eggplant slices, sauce, eggplant slices, until finished. The top layer should be of the sauce.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees until the sauce starts to bubble, about 25 minutes.

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