I'm sure I've said this many times before and will say it again: I rarely use a recipe exactly. I get inspiration from many sources but to suit either my pantry, my budget or my tastes I can look at a recipe and change it before I ever try it. I do try to give credit where credit is due though and I *barely* adapted this recipe from Ina Garten. (It's Ina, she rarely needs adapting ya'll, now how easy is that?)
It was a gooey soft eggplanty goodness. We have officially determined that my husband does not like nor appreciate eggplant though. Alas, I guess I will be making eggplant dishes for just me! (Oh darn, I have to eat all the eggplant by my lonesome, whatever shall I do? LOL)
Good olive oil, for frying
1 large eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 extra-large egg
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup plus some freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
1 can stewed tomatoes in juice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Pour your can of tomatoes into a blender with a dash of salt and pepper, pulse until a fairly smooth thick sauce.
In each of 2 individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon 1/2 of the tomato sauce. Layer half the Riccotta sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top.
Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.