I came up with this recipe when I wanted something that was similar to eggplant parm but something a bit more deconstructed. Eggplant Casserole has the flavor, seasonings, and cheeses without the heavy red gravy yet you don't miss it because of the diced tomatoes included in the dish. Now, it's one of my families favorites!
This casserole freezes well for future use.
1Liberally salt diced eggplant and set aside to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse well & drain.
2Saute eggplant, tomatoes, vegetables, and seasoning (first 11 ingredients) in 5 tablespoons of olive oil until it's really cooked down, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour.
3Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Remove from stove, add the meat or seafood and let cool for a while.
4In a skillet heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and add breadcrumbs; stir to completely coat breadcrumbs. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until breadcrumbs get about 2 shades darker. Remove from heat.
5In a large mixing bowl add beaten eggs, and toasted bread crumbs, (See Note Below), grated cheese & seasonings. Mix well and add to eggplant mixture.
6Fill half of a large baking pan with eggplant mixture, add a layer of shredded mozzarella.
7Add another layer of eggplant mixture and top with a layer of mozzarella or provolone.
(Casserole can be frozen at this point and heated later.)
Any remaining mixture can be frozen for future use.
8Bake at 350* for 30-45 minutes until hot and bubbly and cheese turns golden brown.
If frozen bake for 1 hour lightly covered with foil. Uncover for last 15 minutes of baking.
9*Note: Toasting the breadcrumbs is an important step and will keep the mixture from becoming gummy. Toast extra and put in Ziploc bag in freezer for later use.