My daughters will tell you that a lot of my recipe instructions start with frying bacon and garlic. They like to say ALL but then, they are given to hyperbole and come by that tendency naturally from all the storytellers in our family. As my father always says, “Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?” His own father, their great-grandfather used to say that he didn’t trust a man who could tell a story only one way. So you have to take us all with a grain of salt. But it is the gospel truth when I tell you that most Cajun recipes start with we call the holy trinity: onions, bell pepper and celery. This one is no different.
This week, along with the rest of North America and many countries around the globe, Sunday Supper is celebrating mothers so I wanted to make a dish that my mom loves. When I was a child, this shrimp eggplant casserole was one my mom thoroughly enjoyed and my grandmother made it often when we were visiting. I hated it! Frankly, I hated all things eggplant. I think it was a textural thing. I had already had my second child and was 30 years old before I was introduced to eggplant Parmigiana. Finally, an eggplant dish I liked! But that encouraged me to give some others another try and I am pleased to say that my mom’s favorite is now one of mine too. I don’t know that I make exactly like my grandmother did all those years ago, but I begin with the Cajun holy trinity, and bacon, and that’s the best start.
Happy Mother’s Day to my great traveling companion, positive thinker, faithful role model and unendingly generous mother! I love you, Mom, and wish we were celebrating together today.
|My family bookends. They support me from both sides and I am blessed.|
1 medium onion
1 medium green bell pepper or capsicum
3 stalks celery
4 cloves garlic
3 medium eggplants or aubergine (about 2 lbs or just less than 1 kg)
5 slices sandwich bread (I use whole grain because that’s all I ever buy.)
1 cup milk
1.5 lbs or 680g shrimp, already peeled and cleaned
2 slices bacon
1 1/2 cups or 135g grated Parmesan, divided
2 small chili peppers, minced, or 1 teaspoon chili paste or cayenne
Few good grinds of black pepper
1 cup or 125g dried breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons butter
Parsley for garnish, optional
Finely chop the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic.
Peel the eggplant and cut it into cubes. Put them in a large bowl, cover with cool water and sprinkle with fine sea salt.
Cut your bread slices into pieces and soak them with the milk.
In a large pan, big enough to eventually hold all your cubed eggplant, sauté the shrimp with a drizzle of olive oil, until just pink. Lightly season with sea salt. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Now fry the slices of bacon with another drizzle of olive oil until crispy and remove them from the pan. Chop them into small pieces.
Tip the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic into the bacon pan and sauté until they are all soft. Drizzle in a little olive oil if the pan seems dry.
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and grease a large casserole dish with a little olive oil.
Drain the eggplant in a colander and add it to the bacon pan. Cook the eggplant until it is softened as well. This takes about 10 minutes but you can put a lid on the pan to speed it up a little.
In a very large mixing bowl – I use my largest salad bowl – combine your soaked bread, 2 eggs, bacon, chilies, shrimp and half of the grated Parmesan. Stir until very well combined.
Add in the sautéed eggplant and a few good grinds of black pepper and stir well.
Pour the whole bowl into your prepared casserole dish and spread the contents out evenly.
Mix your breadcrumbs with the remaining Parmesan and sprinkle this to cover the eggplant mixture.
Bake in your preheated oven for about half an hour or until the casserole is golden brown and bubbling.
Does your mom have a special dish she loves? Does your family have inviolate Mother’s Day traditions? I’d love to hear about them so please leave me a comment. Meanwhile, check out all the lovely dishes and desserts my Sunday Supper group is sharing today, along with our talented host, Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake.
Mother's Day Breakfast:
- Bacon,Egg and Cheddar Scones from Kudos Kitchen By Renee
- Chai Berry Muffins from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Chocolate Almond Prune Bread from What Smells So Good?
- Greek Breakfast Strata from Curious Cuisiniere
- Maple Almond Butter from girlichef
- Orange Julius from Neighborfood
- Rum Rolls from Daily Dish Recipes
- Slow Cooker Eggs with an Asian Accent from NinjaBaking.com
- Asparagus and Prosciutto Crostini from Hip Foodie Mom
- Carrot Ginger Soup from Confessions of a Culinary Diva
- Chilled Spring Pea Soup from An Appealing Plan
- I Love You Mom Melon Salad from Hot Momma's Kitchen Chaos
- Strawberry Salad with Asparagus Mousse from Delaware Girl Eats
- Truffled Sea Salt Shrimp Arugula Salad from Family Foodie
- Vegetable Shu Mai from My Healthy Eating Habits
- Betty's Salad from Jelly Toast
- Brussels Sprouts Kofta from Soni's Food
- Cajun Shrimp Eggplant Casserole from Food Lust People Love
- Crepes Lorraine from Noshing With The Nolands
- Greek Chicken Pizza from Casa de Crews
- Ham and Spinach Quiche from Try Anything Once Culinary
- Lightened-Up Penne & Tomato Cream Sauce with Peas & Prosciutto from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Mac & Cheese Dressed Up for Mother's Day from Cooking Chat
- Mini Pot Pies from Jane's Adventures in Cooking
- Paprika Shrimp from Nosh My Way
- Spears in a Blanket from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Banana Cream Pie from Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Black-Eyed Susan from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Cannoncini alla Crema from Manu's Menu
- Chocolate Babka from Run DMT
- Chocolate Caramel Tart from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Chocolate Creme Brûlée from Desserts Required
- Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Gluten Free Lemon Curd Pie from Gluten Free Crumbley
- Lemon Cookies from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Limoncello Lemon Pound Cake from Killer Bunnies, Inc
- Mom's Glazed Blueberry Tarts from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Mom's Coconut Macaroons from MealDiva
- Mango Sorbet from Pescetarian Journal
- PB&J Macaron from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
- Peach Cobbler from Cookin' Mimi
- Pina Colada Cake from The Foodie Army Wife
- Pineapple Empanadas from La Cocina de Leslie
- Scotch Tea Cookies from Shockingly Delicious
- Strawberry Shortcake Whipped Cream Cupcakes from Seduction in the Kitchen
- White Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies from Pies and Plots
#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
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