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What’s Cooking in November?

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If we have a season for eating in Louisiana, it definitely kicks off in full force during November. It’s too late now if you wanted to shed a few pounds before holidays. Seems as though the Christmas season last about two months now and this year we are just about booked solid. The recipe this month I would like to share with you is a dish given to me by my neighbor Ms. Noonie. She lives together with her sister Ms. Blackie. One is 88 and the other 89 but I won’t tell who’s oldest. We often send food over the fence to each other. The elder of the two says that her sister is half dead and she don’t care if she lives or not. That does not stop them from cooking or eating though. One day they sent over this casserole with crabmeat and eggplant. Boy was it good. I haven’t tasted anything that good since my grandma Tute was alive. It was just simple ingredients and flavors tied together with years of cooking experience. Grandma Tute use to make her own bread crumbs from leftover bread. I can remember a cookie sheet with bread on it in the oven drying out from the pilot light under the stove. What memories of great meals that brings back. I’m so glad commercial stoves like I have in my catering kitchen still have pilot lights. Something as simple as fresh bread crumbs will certainly make a difference in a dish. And oh yes I make bread crumbs just like Grandma Tute use to do in the oven overnight on a cookie sheet with just the heat of a pilot light. Trust me it makes a difference.

I have pretty much been able to recreate that casserole and it’s great as a side for the holidays or as a main dish for a meal. I use claw crabmeat because I like the flavor and sweetness, but feel free to dump in a pound of jumbo lump to really impress your guests. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

 

Ms. Nonnie & Ms. Blackie’s Crabmeat and Eggplant Casserole

Ingredients:

– 4 medium eggplants (about 5 ½ to 6 pounds)

– 8 ounces (1 stick) butter

– 3 cups red onion, diced

– 10 toes garlic, chopped

– 28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained

– 2 pounds claw crabmeat, picked free of shells

– salt to taste

– black pepper to taste

– cayenne pepper to taste

– 8 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed

– 1 cup sliced green onions

– ½ cup chopped parsley

– 2 cups plain or Italian breadcrumbs (plus additional for topping)

– Parmesan cheese shredded, optional

Peel and cube eggplant and soak in salted water for fifteen minutes. Bring a large pot of water to boil and blanch eggplant for ten minutes in lightly salted water. Remove to a colander and drain well pressing out the excess water. In a large heavy bottom pot heat butter over medium high heat and add red onion and garlic. When vegetables become tender add drained tomatoes and blanched eggplant. Season to taste with salt, peppers and chicken bouillon cubes. If using Italian breadcrumbs remember that this will add salt to dish so be wary when adding salt at this point. Simmer on low for about fifteen minutes and fold in crabmeat. Remove from heat and fold in breadcrumbs. Place in a large casserole and spread out evenly. Sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for thirty minutes.

Serves 8 people


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