Shrimp, Eggplant, and Rice Casserole
Rice and eggplant don’t come together often. On the other hand, shrimp and eggplant are natural partners, and this winds up being a good dish. I adapted it from one sent me by Jerald Horst, who for many years wrote the interesting Lagniappe newsletter about seafood published by the LSU Sea Grant College. (He and his wife have written a series of books about Louisiana seafood, called “The Seafood Bibles.” When making this, measure the ingredients carefully. The amount of liquid is critical to making sure that the rice cooks properly. It doesn’t seem like enough, but it is.
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into one-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 3/4 cup uncooked rice
- 1 lb. small, peeled shrimp
- 1 Tbs. Creole seasoning
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 green onion, tender green parts only, snipped finely
1. Sprinkle the eggplant cubes with salt and place into a colander. Fit a bowl about the same size as the colander on top of the eggplant, and weigh it down lightly. Put the whole apparatus into the sink. After a half-hour, rinse the salt off the eggplant and drain.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat until it shimmers. Add the red pepper flakes and crushed garlic cloves. Saute until the garlic is brown around the edges. Remove and discard the garlic. Add the eggplant and onions, and saute until the eggplant has browned at the edges.
3. Add the tomatoes, rice, shrimp, salt, parsley, and 1 1/4 cup (10 oz.) of water. Bring to a light boil, stir well, and cover the saucepan. Put it into a preheated 350-degree oven, and cook for 30-35 minutes, until the rice is tender.
4. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and green onions before serving.