Turkish Eggplant and Cheese Casserole (Almodrote de Berenjena)

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From “Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World” by Gil Marks.

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds total), or one eggplant and 1.5 pounds zucchini.
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) crumbled feta or 1 cup (8 ounces) farmer cheese or cream cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded kashkaval, Gruyere, or Cheddar cheese
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, matzoh cake meal, or mashed potatoes
  • About 1/2 teaspoon table salt or 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • about 1 tbsp. olive oil for drizzling.

Directions:

Light a fire on a charcoal grill or preheat the broiler. Cut several slits in the eggplants. Roast over hot coals or 5 inches from the heat source of the broiler, turning occasionally, until charred and tender, about 40 minutes. Or, place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until very tender, about 50 minutes. Let stand long enough so that you can handle. Peel the eggplant, being careful not to leave any skin, Place in a colander and let drain about 30 minutes. Coarsely chop (do not puree).

Meanwhile, if you are using zucchini, simmer until just tender; drain, coarsely mash, and add to the eggplant. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a shallow 8-cup baking dish such as an 8-inch square or a 7 x 11 inch dish. In a large bowl, combine the feta cheese, 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, the eggs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir in the eggplant. Pour into the prepared dish and drizzle with a little oil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6 – 8.