Eggplant and Zucchini Timbale Soufflé

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This dish is considered a timbale because of its shape and the way it is constructed, and a soufflé because the eggs and cheese in the zucchini mixture rise like a soufflé and fall slightly when it cools. I think the flavors are best when the timbale is lukewarm, with just some olive oil drizzled over it. But served warm with the fresh tomato sauce accented by the Italian parsley and basil mayonnaise, it is pretty special. It is photographed here as a large timbale, which you would cut like a cake and serve in wedges.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 large eggplants
  • ½ cup herb oil
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh marjoram, finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 eggs, 4 whole and 2 yolks
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups fresh tomato sauce

Method

Hand grate or put the zucchini through the small julienne blade of a food processor. Put the zucchini in a bowl and sprinkle it with the kosher salt. Mix well and let stand for 30 minutes, tossing twice.

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Cut the eggplants lengthwise into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Brush the slices with the herb oil and put them on a sheet pan. Cover and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the eggplants from the pan and cool as quickly as possible.

Line a straight-sided large dish or several small ones with the eggplant slices, starting with a radial pattern on the bottom of the dish. Overlap the slices to completely cover the surface of the dish. The slices that have more of the skin showing will give a better pattern. Save any very small slices for the stuffing and save enough large slices to cover the top.

Wring out the zucchini until it is completely dry. Put the olive oil in a saucepan and heat it slightly. Add the zucchini and toss it over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the marjoram and salt and pepper to taste; cook until the zucchini is dried out, about 5 minutes. Do not let it brown or color. Put the zucchini in a bowl and let cool. Add the eggs, ricotta, and Parmesan. Chop any of the eggplant slices you didn’t use and add to the zucchini. Mix together very well and taste for seasoning.

Spoon the zucchini mixture into the lined dish to ½ inch from the top. Completely cover the zucchini mixture with the remaining eggplant slices.

Cover the dish with foil and put it in a larger baking pan. Put the pan in the oven and fill with boiling water ¾ up the smaller dish. Cook until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Take the timbale out of the pan and let it sit for 20 minutes in a warm place. Unmold the timbale onto a platter. Wipe up any juices that flow out and spoon the tomato sauce around.

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