Thursday, April 9, 2009

Comforting Creole Creation

Shrimp and Eggplant dressing is a Creole Italian Dish that is fairly popular in New Orleans. I don't remember my Mom or Grannie ever making this dish growing up so it isn't one of my childhood. However, I have a friend who's dad is an amazing cook and he made the most phenomenal Shrimp and Eggplant dressing. I came across this recipe during one of my several recipe Internet searches and thought it sounded great. Making the shrimp stock from scratch to cook the eggplant in is a crucial step that adds SOOOO much flavor to this dish. The shrimp and eggplant are perfect compliments to each other that make this dish a must try!

Shrimp and Eggplant Dressing
Adapted from The New Orleans Italian Cook Book

1 lb Wild Caught American Gulf Shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (Reserve the shells)
1 Bay leaf
1 bundle Fresh Thyme, tied with butchers twine
Water, enough to cover the eggplant by 1 inch
1 splash Liquid Crab Boil or 1 crawfish, shrimp and crab boil seasoning package
4-5 small Eggplant, peeled, enough to yield about 2 1/2-3 Cups Cooked, sliced horizantally 1 inch thick
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Large Spanish Onion, finely diced
1 Medium Green Bell Pepper, finely diced
4 Toes Garlic, minced
2 Green Onions, sliced thin
1 Egg, beaten
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
1 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs

For the topping:

1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup grated Parmigiana, and Pecorino Romano
3 Tbsp Melted Butter
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped
A pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring the water to boil in a Dutch Oven. Add the Bay Leaf, bundled Thyme, reserved Shrimp shells, crab boil (see the crab boil seasonng package below), any trim from the diced onion, and a handful of Kosher salt.

Boil for about 15-20 minutes, skim off the scum (I didn't at first, but you will know what this stuff is when you see it) from the shrimp shells. Add the Eggplant

and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, melt the 3 Tbsp butter in a saute pan. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and a pinch of salt,

saute until the onions are translucent, add the chopped Thyme and the chopped shrimp, cook until the shrimp are just cooked through; set aside to cool.

When the eggplant is very tender remove with tongs to a colander to cool. Make sure to grab the whole piece of eggplant with the tongs and not just a piece of it because the piece break apart very easily. When cool, squeeze some of the liquid from it and chop.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, onion & pepper mixture, egg, fresh basil, and parsley,

mix ingredients together well. Add the cup of Italian bread crumbs a little at a time

until the right consistency is achieved; it should be not too wet, not too dry. Check the seasoning; season to taste with Kosher salt, Cayenne, and black pepper.

Add the mixture to a buttered gratin or baking dish. Mix together the topping ingredients,

top the shrimp and eggplant dressing with it. Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly and the topping is a nice golden brown.

Makes enough for a side dish for 8.


MaryBeth said...

Oh what a fabulous dish Miss Elizabeth... It looks so delish!

Gabriela (Gabi With An Eye) said...

Elizabeth - your step by step photography is sensational. You make it look so incredibly easy, when I know it really involves a good deal of work. This shrimp and eggplant dressing looks downright appetizing. TFS.

GravissFamily said...

Yum! Right up my alley.

teresa said...

I'm so impressed! This looks amazing!

McTatty said...

Yummy! Two of my favorites - eggplant and shrimp! Awesome pics!

Kerstin said...

Yum - shrimp and eggplant together sounds delicious and I love all the fresh herbs in this recipe!