Cooking for the Mardi Gras

egplant in ruthie dish

Back in the day, when I lived in New Orleans and worked on St. Charles Avenue, Mardi Gras was like Christmas all over again.  One of the many new experiences I picked up in the Big Easy was a new appreciation for eggplant.  I always enjoyed it fried, but there I discovered it can be stuffed, pureed and “souped” up in numerous delectable ways.

one slice eggplant

My fave is Eggplant Parmesan.  I picked up this recipe from Ralph Brennan, owner of Mr. B’s and Bacco.  It is the best and easiest recipe in my repertoire.  It’s healthier too since it doesn’t require you to bread and fry the eggplant. The use of Kroger Pizza Sauce is my own addition for convenience. I find it gives the dish more of a punch.

Eggplant Parmesan with Kroger sauce

2 medium eggplants

olive oil

1 jar Kroger Pizza sauce or your favorite brand

1/2 pound provolone cheese, thinly sliced

2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and Pepper to taste

Peel eggplant and slice into 1/2 inch rounds.  Rinse and drain, salt and pepper well and set aside to let the salt draw out some of the moisture.  Spray one 9 by 12 baking dish with oil.  Cover bottom of dish with a little of the sauce.  Place a layer of sliced eggplant over the sauce.  Top with single layer of provolone cheese and sprinkle with 1/2 parmesan cheese.  Cover with more sauce.  Add remaining eggplant slices and cover with additional cheeses.  Top with remaining sauce.  Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Uncover the continue to bake for about 10 minutes to reduce amount of liquid. Serves 6 as main dish or 8 as side.

I make this for myself at least once a week using one eggplant and one 14-ounce jar of pizza sauce which you can pick up at Kroger for 99 cents.  I like to serve it on my new platter Ruthie gave me after I coveted it at her house. After nagging incessantly, she finally just gave it to me. You’ll have enough sauce and cheese left to make yourself an English Muffin Pizza.

2 thoughts on “Cooking for the Mardi Gras

  1. Well, Emily, I know you didn’t add the Kroger sauce when you lived in New Orleans! What is it about Louisiana that they don’t even have Kroger stores? I’ll have to stock up on sauce when I come back to West Point. The recipe sounds delicious, and much healthlier and quicker without having to fry the eggplant! Is it okay if I add ground turkey or venison to the sauce?

  2. Ann, you can add whatever floats your boat. I made it today and added a jar of cheap Dollar Tree Red Peppers – love those things – keep a cabinet load.

    Ralph Brennan originally made this recipe with mirletons. No one up here knows what they are.

    Lesse bon temps roulet. Did I spell that correctly?

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