eggplant_bechamel2

As the weather cools and the nights shorten, I enjoy warming my home with foods cooked in a creamy bechamel.

A bechamel is a white sauce made with milk or stock, seasoned with onions, and thickened with flour.  It’s a common sauce in French cooking but often used in Spanish as well.

Creamy and silky, it’s a great sauce to pair with many different kinds of vegetables, pasta, or chicken.

I’ve had a tremendous eggplant harvest this year and I’ve found that it pairs really well with bechamel.  Especially when it’s flavors are heightened when topped with garlic breadcrumbs and fresh herbs.

herbs

Fresh herbs are a key component to simple cooking.  By adding a sprinkle of thyme, marjoram, sage, or oregano you can bring wonderful new flavors and freshness to any dish.

I encourage you to try it. Add a sprinkle to your next meal. Once you see how flavors can be elevated by adding fresh herbs, I’m sure next year you’ll want to start an herb garden of your own.

As my eggplants have started to dwindle, I decided to make a special batch of eggplant bechamel to celebrate my mami’s return from Spain.

eggplant_bechamel1

She was visiting for six long weeks and I’m so happy she’s back. She does so much for my family. We all missed her dearly.

To celebrate her return, I made a special dinner of meatballs in an almond sauce over saffron rice (recipes coming soon) and a side of eggplant bechamel.

Simple and comforting… for a very special lady; my mami.  

Or as Julia Child would say, “Real – Real Food;  My favorite kind of food fit for a family.”

Eggplant Bechamel Topped with Garlic Breadcrumbs and Fresh Herbs

Eggplant Bechamel Topped with Garlic Breadcrumbs and Fresh Herbs

A creamy and silky eggplant side dish brightened with garlic and fresh herbs. This is by far, my families favorite dish for eggplant.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized eggplants, cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 tbls butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese (white)
  • 1 piece of bread, thickly cut
  • 3 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs (sage, oregano, marjoram, thyme, flat leaf parsley), chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Steam the eggplant slices for 5-10 minutes or until they are soft and tender. Carefully, place them in two layers in a baking dish.
  2. To make the bechamel:
  3. Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet or pan. Add the onion and saute until barely transparent. Add the flour and stir for 3-4 minutes. Slowly, whisk in the milk, constantly stirring until it begins to thicken. It should be about the consistency of a pancake batter. (If it needs to be thicker add a bit more flour. If it needs to be thinner, add a bit more milk.) Add 1 teaspoon salt and mix through. Once the consistency has been achieved, add the cheese and mix throughly until it's melted and the sauce is smooth. Pour the sauce over the eggplant.
  4. To make the breadcrumb topping:
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a small cast iron skillet or pan. Once the olive oil is heated, fry the piece of bread, turning, to brown on both sides. Once crispy and browned, with a mortar and pestle, crumble the bread with the garlic and fresh herbs. Once it's all combined, sprinkle over the eggplant.
  6. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes.
http://www.myhumblekitchen.com/2012/10/eggplant-bechamel-topped-with-garlic-breadcrumbs-and-fresh-herbs/

Serve hot and even tastes wonderful reheated.

Buen Provecho!


8 Responses to Eggplant Bechamel Topped with Garlic Breadcrumbs and Fresh Herbs

  1. Trish says:

    do you try to grow any herbs inside during winter? I want to at least try parsley this year.

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Trish, I don’t have a great South Side facing window. However, I’m planning on a bay window in my kitchen to start an indoor herb garden. Maybe next year. I would definitely love it ;D

  2. Diana Bauman says:

    Muchas gracias, Ean!

  3. [...] Fresh herbs add flavor and freshness to a dish – they add color and vibrance.  Fresh herbs can turn the ordinary into something spectacular – like this eggplant bechamel. [...]

  4. Hello Diana, Breadcrumbs are my new favorite ingredient, now that I live in Madrid! Me gusta mucho la comida de España :-) Ya tengo el jamon serano y jamonero que construyeron mis hijos. The farmers come up from Toledo every Saturday and I am going to make this eggplant.
    angela hively recently posted..Healthy Spanish cooking

  5. […] my garden. However, as much as he turns his nose, he never complains once they’re cooked in a rich bechamel or fried and topped with homemade tomatoes, herbs, and cheddar […]

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