Baked Eggplant Casserole A La Morrison's Cafeteria.
- 1 large or 2 medium eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 6 strips thin-sliced bacon
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 stack (from the four stacks in a standard box) saltine crackers
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk (or half-and-half)
- 1 cup grated Romano cheese
Dissolve 2 Tbs. salt in 1 quart water. Bring this to a boil in a large saucepan.
Cut the eggplants into oblong dice about two inches long.
Lower the heat in the saucepan to a simmer and add the eggplant. Cook until the eggplant pieces are distinctly limp. Drain the pan and set the eggplant pieces and the saucepan aside to dry a little.
Slice the bacon into pieces the size of your fingernail. Put the pieces into the saucepan, and set the heat to medium. Cook the bacon just until barely crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside in a large bowl.
In the remaining bacon fat, cook the chopped onion until it's translucent and soft.
Crush the crackers into big crumbs. (A food processor gets this done perfectly.) Add the crackers, eggplant, bacon, egg, and milk to the saucepan. Stir until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add up to about a quarter-cup of chicken stock or water, enough that the ingredients are very wet, but not enough to form puddles at the bottom. Also add salt and pepper to taste at this point.
Load the mixture into a two-quart casserole. Sprinkle the top with the Romano cheese. Bake the casserole at 400 degrees until bubbles begin to come up and the top to brown--about fifteen to twenty minutes.
Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes before serving. It should be distinctly hot, but not enough to burn your mouth.