At the popular New Orleans restarant, Copelands, (Popeye's Fried Chicken founder), the most popular dish is their famous Eggplant Pirogue. Slices of cajun fried eggplant is smothered in a delectible au gratin and shrimp sauce, then served over angel hair pasta. I make mine slightly less spicy, but feel free to spice yours up as much as you want. It's so similar to the original you may not be able to tell the difference!
FYI: Pirogue is Cajun French for a small flat bottomed boat which is essential for fishing the shallow bayous and rivers of south Louisiana.
Main photo from Copeland's
Salt the eggplant slices and let drain in a colander for about 10 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
2In a medium bowl beat eggs and half & half together.
In a separate bowl mix fish fry, breadcrumbs and Cajun seasonings together.
Put the flour in another bowl or pie plate.
3Take a slice of eggplant and dust it in the flour, shake off excess, then dip in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure the eggplant is covered with the coating.
4Set them on a platter lined with waxed paper. Repeat for the remaining eggplant slices.
Put a layer of waxed paper between layers of eggplants as they are dipped and coated.
Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour. (At this point start the sauce.)
5If you want to fry the eggplants make sure you have enough oil to cover the eggplant slices and fry at 350 for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove fried eggplant to a platter lined with paper towels to drain.
If you prefer to bake the eggplant, place on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray (I like olive oil spray) and bake at 450* for 10 minutes, flip slices over and bake for about 10 more minutes until golden brown.
7Make a light roux by mixing 1 cup butter and 1 1/2 cup flour together for at least 5 minutes.
8In a large heavy skillet or saucepan bring stock, Cajun seasonings and onion to a boil; thicken by whisking roux into stock. Boil 3 minutes, whisk in half and half, wine, and 1 tablespoon butter, bring to just a boil then add cheese. Simmer on low heat.
9In Separate pot sauté garlic in 1 tablespoon butter, add liquid crab boil and shrimp, cook for about 3 minutes until the shrimp just start to turn pink. Pour shrimp and garlic mixture into white sauce and simmer on very low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Sauce should be fairly thick but you can adjust it to your liking.
Season to taste with salt, white pepper and Cajun seasoning as desired.
11Put a serving of angel hair pasta on a plate then top the pasta with 2 slices of eggplant. Ladle enough sauce over eggplant to also blend with the pasta.
12Garnish with sliced green onions, chopped fresh parsley and a lemon wedge. Serve with green salad and garlic bread. Enjoy!