Okay, it wasn’t THAT bad.
Upon going to a farmer’s market in a local high school’s parking lot, I strolled across a bushel of eggplants. I remember in my vegetarian days how delicious eggplant parmesan was. Surely there was something equally as delicious I could make out of my cookbook. “How much?” I asked. “Two for a dollar,” the kind farmer told me. I was shocked. Now I know why people rave about farmer’s markets. Two huge globe eggplants for one measly dollar. I snatched those globes right up.
When I got home I feverishly flipped to the index of The Vegan Table to see just how many recipes there were that included these purple wonders. “Eggplant and Caramelized Onion ‘Lasagna'” struck a chord. I love lasagna. It’s settled. A few days go by and I decide that Saturday is the day.
After a trip to Whole Foods, with all my ingredients in hand, I begin the daunting task that is…eggplant lasagna. First step, the eggplant. After the first few slices I began to realize that this vegetable is a lot heartier than I thought. I practically had to saw into it. I oiled up the slices and threw ’em into the oven for a few minutes on each side. By the way, if you want to add excitement in your life, set “broil” on high after you move the rack with parchment paper on it closer to the top. You will most definitely have a fire on your hands.
Next step, prepping lots of veggies. Chopping capers, black olives, green olives, basil, tomatoes (after being peeled), not to mention the onions, was almost an hour ordeal. Speaking of onions, this recipe called for 4 medium-sized ones. I thought that was a little much, but I like to put complete confidence in the recipe that I have in hand. After chopping two entire onions and throwing them in the skillet, my confidence waned in Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. There was no fucking way I was going to chop up two more onions when I could barely fit the first two in the pan. Not to mention the breath I was gonna have after eating one bite.
I began the sautéing of the onions which took about an hour. Did I mention there were a lot of fucking onions? I love cooking, but this was about as exciting as watching a block of tofu being drained. I contemplated taking a nap but didn’t want to create another kitchen fire hazard. I dump the other veggies and toasted pine nuts into the mix and realized the end was in sight.
I grab the 9×13 baking pan that I’m supposed to use and began to spoon and spread the onion mixture when I realize I’m not going to have enough to form a layer. I guess that’s why she told me to use 4 onions. Alright Colleen, you win! She may have a cookbook, but I still think 4 is ridiculous. So with the help of my roommate, I transfer the mixture over to a smaller casserole dish that worked far better. After 3 hours in the kitchen, I learned that “Lasagna” was in quotation marks for a reason. This was definitely more of a casserole than thick layered lasagna. With the layering done and the dish in the oven for 10 more minutes, I could breathe a sigh of relief.
Was it worth it? No. Was it good? Yeah. Fantastic? Not really. Sweeter than I anticipated, the caramelized onion base left me yearning for the hearty tomato taste of lasagna. I couldn’t complain too much though. Rarely are you able to put so many veggies in one dish and still come away with the solid taste this one had. However, I will never make this recipe again, ever. So the lesson I came away with after 3 hours was if something is going take that goddamn long to make, it better be one of the best fucking meals ever.