Lazy Layered Eggplant
I‘m obsessed with my new little cast-iron skillet, can you tell? Two posts in a week that feature the adorable new addition to my kitchen. 😉 I like it for its dual purpose in this recipe: sauté the onions, garlic, lamb, tomatoes and spices in it while the eggplant bakes, then spoon the sauce out, layer in the eggplant, and serve it with a rustic presentation that complements the recipe’s bold, ethnic flavor.
I got inspired to tackle eggplant after browsing Saveur‘s Global Eggplant Recipes collection. Don’t get too excited, they’re all full of soy, or dairy, or beans. YAWN. So I decided to make my own dish that lets the deep flavor of lamb absorb some of my favorite spices and relies on layers of eggplant to round out the recipe. Fair warning, however: those spices? Yeah, they come on strong. So make this as is and put on your big boy/girl pants before chowing down, or dial back the cayenne pepper and Aleppo pepper.
Finally, it’s called “lazy” because it’s an idea I came up with on a weeknight and tested on the next. When you leap out of bed in the morning, run for the train, hustle for 8+ hours at the office, sprint for the train home then spend a wind-whipped twenty minutes walking from the station to the apartment? Well, you’re in no mood to slave over dinner. Preheat the oven, slice the eggplant, unwrap the ground lamb. It’s a fast dinner that doesn’t come out of a freezer bag, so you’re welcome.
This Mediterranean-inspired dish is the lazy version of... something. Lasagna? Moussaka? In any case, it's easy enough for a weeknight but tastes like you spent hours at the stove.
- 2 eggplants
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 lb ground lamb
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes
- + more for garnish (optional)
- 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/2 lemon
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Slice the eggplant into rounds approximately ½ inch thick. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until al dente (not mushy).
- While the eggplant cooks, prepare the sauce: dice the onion and garlic, or give them a whirl together in a food processor until finely shredded.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, then add onion and garlic. Cook until translucent, stirring frequently (about 15 minutes). Add the ground lamb and cook until no longer pink.
- Pour in the tomatoes, and add salt, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Stir, then spoon the mixture out of the skillet.
- Layer half of the cooked eggplant in concentric circles in the skillet. Spread half of the lamb mixture over the eggplant layer. Follow with the other half of the eggplant, layered in the same way.
- Mix the parsley into the remaining half of the lamb mixture, then spoon over the second eggplant layer. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
- Finish with a dusting of Aleppo pepper, a squeeze of lemon, then serve warm.
by Fresh Planet Flavor