Moussaka is an eggplant based casserole dish native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It comes in a range of styles and flavors. Some are not layered and look more like a stew. The Greek version is the best known and has layers of eggplant, tomato sauce, and meat (lamb or beef) topped with a white sauce.
My weekend food find mentioned in my previous post included a vegetarian moussaka. This version is more like a stew with eggplants, zucchinis, and potatoes. The dish was a tad oily but still very delicious. I really liked it and wanted to recreate it in a more traditional layered style.
I used long Chinese eggplants and small round eggplants which cook more easily. They are also more juicy so that the dish will not be dry. Using a non-stick pan, I fried the eggplants in 3 batches using only 1 teaspoon of oil each time. I did the same for the zucchinis. I put a thin layer of breadcrumbs at the bottom to help absorb any excessive juices. The dish turned out really well. It was moist and very flavorful. Will definitely make this again.
- 1 lb (450g) Chinese (or long) eggplant
- ½ lb (225g) round eggplant
- 2 medium sized zucchinis
- 1½ tsp salt
- 3 slices of bread
- 1 cup (115g) shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tsp salt
Sliced Chinese eggplants into 1/8-inch thick slices. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 15 minutes. Do the same for round eggplants and zucchinis. Toast bread and crumble into coarse crumbs.
Add 1 tsp olive oil to a non-stick pan. Fry half the Chinese eggplants for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and repeat with the other half of the Chinese eggplants. Do the same for round eggplants and zucchinis.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan. Sauté onions and garlic until soft. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, and cinnamon. Stir for a minute. Add water and salt. Cook for several minutes until sauce thickens. Remove.
Preheat oven to 350?F (180°C).
Place half the breadcrumbs at the bottom of a rectangular or round deep oven proof casserole dish. Place a layer of both types of eggplants followed by a layer of zucchinis. Spoon half the tomato sauce over the vegetables. Sprinkle with ½ cup cheese. Place another layer of eggplants followed by another layer of zucchinis. Sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs followed by cheese.
Bake for 1 hour. If cheese gets too brown, cover loosely with foil.
Remove and serve immediately.
There was just the right amount of juices, not too much as to make it soggy and not too little as to make it dry.
Happy Spring! My forsythia bush is giving a brilliant show of vibrant yellow flowers.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!