This dish, based on a recipe from chef and author Madeleine Kamman, takes the elements of a classic Greek dish, moussaka, and transforms them into a light souffle. To reduce the carbs, whole-wheat pastry flour stands in for all-purpose flour, and unsweetened almond milk replaces cow’s milk.
Make Ahead: The eggplant needs to be salted for 1 hour. The assembled souffle should be either baked and served immediately or frozen uncooked, then baked in a frozen state, a method Kamman calls "defrost while baking." To do that, prepare the souffle in a CorningWare dish, cover it with plastic and let it freeze solid; then wrap it with aluminum foil. (The souffle can be frozen for up to a month.) Bake the frozen souffle uncovered in a 375-degree oven for twice the called-for baking time, minus 5 minutes.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 2 small (about 28 ounces total) Italian eggplants, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (for the eggplant), plus more to taste
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 tablespoons mixed freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly grated pecorino cheese
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (at least 1 1/4 cups)
- 8 ounces lean ground lamb
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon oregano leaves, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, warmed
- 4 large egg yolks
- 6 large egg whites
Place the eggplant in a colander set over a large bowl. Sprinkle the eggplant with the teaspoon of salt and let it sit for 1 hour. Rinse the eggplant, then squeeze it dry and blot the cubes on paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Brush a 2-quart souffle dish with 1 tablespoon of the oil, then use 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture to coat the bottom and sides. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the onion and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is softened and beginning to brown. Add the lamb, making sure to break up any large pieces, and cook until the lamb is completely browned. Push the meat to one side of the skillet, then tilt the skillet so the fat runs to the opposite side. Use paper towels to soak up the fat; discard them.
Add the wine, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, coriander and salt and pepper to taste, mixing well. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for several minutes, stirring until the moisture has evaporated. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Remove from the heat.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until the oil shimmers. Add the eggplant and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the pieces are completely soft and beginning to fall apart.
Add the flour, stirring to coat the eggplant, and cook for 1 minute, then add half of the warm almond milk and stir until completely incorporated. Repeat with the remaining milk. Add the yolks one at a time, stirring to incorporate after each addition. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons of the cheese mixture and mix well, then transfer the eggplant batter to a large bowl.
Place the egg whites in the clean, grease-free bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on low, then high speed to form stiff, but not dry, peaks.
Add one-quarter of the egg whites to the eggplant batter and mix to lighten its consistency, then use a flexible spatula to fold in the remaining egg whites until completely incorporated.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared souffle dish. Spread the lamb over it, then cover with the remaining batter. Place the souffle dish on the foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the souffle has puffed and is golden brown, and a metal skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Adapted from Kamman's "The New Making of a Cook" (Morrow, 1997).
Tested by David Hagedorn.
Email questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.