One of the perks of going to college 1000 miles away from where your family lives is that friends would often take pity upon me on long weekends and invite me to come home with them. I found myself with a group of friends that had all gone to high school together, so I’d get invited home by one, only to find myself being transported around town all weekend to have dinner with another friend’s family and then brunch the next day with yet another. Southern hospitality at it’s finest y’all. Over the years I accumulated a number of recipes from these friends’ mothers, all of which are written down in my notebook as Mrs. blank’s _____________, like Mrs. Cape’s Pimento Cheese.
I found myself having lunch at the Carroll’s one summer Sunday afternoon and liked the eggplant casserole so much I requested the recipe. I’m not at all sure where it originated – maybe Southern Living, although don’t quote me on that- it very well could just as easily be from one of those church/junior league/ladies group cookbooks. You know the ones I’m talking about? Those are a treasure trove full of casserole recipes. Anyway, it’s not one of my usual go-to eggplant recipes and I’m not sure why not other than the fact it goes in the oven and turning on the oven in the summer is not my thing, despite the number of hours I will spend canning. I know, go figure. It’s far easier to just sit outside and watch the birds that built a nest in the hanging basket on the front porch feed their babies or to take countless pictures of the dog.
I’ve tweaked the recipe ever so slightly from the original version by going with shredded instead of cubed cheese and subbing wheat bread for the specified white bread. It’s a fairly plain jane recipe although it’d be easy enough to jazz up with a few spice and cheese variations and you could probably use bread crumbs instead of the cubed bread. I like to serve it with a plate full of veggies like sliced tomatoes, corn on the cob and something frittered (in this case kolrabi) which may not look like much, but man, it sure tastes good. It tastes even better if you eat it sitting outside. Summer dinner really is my favorite.
Mrs. Carroll’s Eggplant Casserole
1 med eggplant
1-2 slices of (white) bread, diced
2 Tbsn butter, melted
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup cheese (recipe calls for cubed, I used shredded)
salt, pepper, paprika
Peel and cut eggplant. Cook in salted water until tender. Drain and combine with bread, butter, egg, cheese and enough milk to make a thick, soupy mixture. Add salt & pepper, sprinkle well with paprika. Pour into greased 2 quart casserole dish and bake at 350 until set (about a half hour or so?)