Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Tribute to Sher: Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

I've been walking around in a shocked fog all day. After spending a relaxing weekend camping with the family, I came home to the awful news that Sher of What Did You Eat? had suddenly passed away. Sher's blog was one of the first food blogs I'd discovered, and even though I'd lost track of her there for awhile when I started my own blog, I'd recently rediscovered What Did You Eat? and had been enjoying catching up with Sher's life and bookmarking her recipes to make later on.

Reading Sher's blog, you had a sense that you knew her; that she was a long lost friend. And though I'd never had a chance to personally correspond with Sher, I still feel a real sense of loss. Loss for her family. Loss for her friends. And loss for all these people out in cyberspace, whose lives were touched by a few minutes of reading Sher's blog. Readers who came away with a new recipe and a smile on their face. Such a tragic loss.

In order to honor Sher and celebrate her life, her friends have decided to each choose and recreate a recipe from her blog and write about it. Glenna from A Fridge Full of Food has offered to collect the links to all of the posts and include them with her Tribute to Sher. It is truly amazing to see how many lives one woman has been able to touch. And so terribly sad that she was never able to know just how many of us were out here.

Looking through Sher's recipe, it's very hard to pick just one. I bookmarked four or five more just today while looking through them and I know several have been bookmarked for awhile. I decided to try her Eggplant "Whoopie Pies", otherwise known as Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Tarragon Sauce. While many other recipes called to me and are on the rotation for upcoming weeks, this recipe made me get up out of my chair and start cooking right away. Unfortunately, my eggplant has not started producing but I did have a fridge full of zucchini so mine are more "Mini Whoopie Pies." This recipe was delicious with zucchini and I know it will be equally as wonderful when I make it again with eggplant.

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Tarragon Sauce

Recipe from Sher at What Did You Eat?

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cups fresh or canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (one 28-ounce can)
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon
1- 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup dry bread crumbs (I used plain Panko)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggplants, peeled and cut to make sixteen 1/2-inch-thick slices in all
4 eggs, beaten to mix
Cooking oil, for frying
1/2 pound mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet, cut into 8 rounds

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tarragon, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Dip each slice of eggplant in the eggs and then in the bread-crumb mixture, coating well. In a large frying pan, heat about half an inch of cooking oil over moderate heat until very hot. Fry the eggplant in the hot oil, in batches, turning once, until golden and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Arrange half of the eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Put a slice of goat cheese on top of each and then top with the remaining eggplant slices. Bake until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Put the sauce on plates and top with the eggplant.


Peter M said...

I remember her posting this dish...a wonderful tribute to Sher.

Kalyn said...

I can vividly remember when Sher made this. I think she would be very pleased that so many people are remembering her.

Anonymous said...

This was one that I almost decided to make when I was picking my recipe for the tribute, and I'm definitely going to make it at some point this summer. This is a lovely tribute.

Glenna said...

I love this recipe! Thanks for posting it and for loving her and her blog as much as I did.