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Eggplant Moussaka Le Papillon
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Eggplant Moussaka Le Papillon

Gourmet Archives

1/3 cup minced onion
1/3 cup minced celery
1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
A 1-pound-1-ounce- tin plum tomatoes,
including the juice, puréed
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons Port
1 tablespoon tomato paste
A 1-inch square of orange rind
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
2 cups cold milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter,
cut into 4 pieces
Freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste
4 large eggs
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
4 eggplants, each weighing 1/4 pound
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

In skillet cook the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic in 3 tablespoons
olive oil over moderate heat, stirring, until vegetables are softened. Add the puréed tomatoes, wine, parsley, Port, tomato paste, orange rind, bay leaf, basil, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Bring liquid to a boil and simmer
the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Discard bay leaf and orange
rind and purée the sauce through the medium disk of a food mill into
a bowl.
In a heavy saucepan, put the flour; add 2 cups cold milk in a stream, whisking. Continue to whisk until mixture is well combined. Bring mixture
to a boil, whisking constantly, remove pan from heat and beat in the butter, and freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Let the mixture cool 10 minutes and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the Swiss and Romano cheese. Combine the sauce well and cover it
with buttered wax paper to prevent a skin from forming.
Cut the eggplants crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Put the slices in a colander, sprinkle them with salt and let them drain for 30 minutes. Rinse
the eggplant under cold running water and pat it dry.
In a skillet heat 1/2 cup olive oil over moderately high heat until it is hot,
and in it sauté the eggplant in batches, turning it, for 2 minutes or until it
is golden. Transfer eggplant to paper towels to drain.
Spoon 1/3 cup tomato sauce into each of four 1 1/2-cup casseroles, each
4 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep and divide the eggplant among the casseroles, overlapping the slices to form an even layer. Fill the casseroles
to within 1/4 inch of the top with the cheese sauce and sprinkle each
with 1/4 cup grated mozzarella. The casseroles may be assembled ahead
of time and chilled, covered, overnight. Bake the casseroles, uncovered,
30 minutes at 400 degrees F. or until tops are puffed and browned lightly.
Serves 4.

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