Moussaka 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

9.8.11 Grecian Formula

More rain. Lots more. Enough that thoughts begin to turn away from corn salsas and tomato salads and toward cozier soups and stews. So the tomatoes and eggplant that have finally started trickling in from our late-producing garden inspired me to make a dish I'd never before eaten, much less cooked: moussaka. This Mediterranean eggplant-based casserole, eaten as far afield as the Balkans and the Middle East, comes in a few different versions, usually with ground lamb and tomato sauce, and sometimes with a topping of béchamel or custard (á la Elizabeth David, the seminal British cook). I've never been the hugest fan of shepherd's pie, but I thought this might be a slightly lighter and tastier variation on that general idea. I found a recipe online at Saveur, but it called for a layer of potatoes, which seemed a bit excessive (plus I didn't have any on hand), so I simply left them out. I also didn't have currants (I used raisins) or bell peppers (ick, in general), but the dish didn't suffer from the lack of either. Although the recipe does look like a lot of steps, it's actually a pretty simple process of making three distinct layers: fried eggplant; a garlicky lamb-&-tomato sauce with piquant spicing; and a rich, creamy topping. With a green salad, it makes a relatively easy and quite delicious weeknight dinner.
Tagged — moussaka