Tuesday, October 19, 2010

White Bean and Eggplant Gratin

I had so much fun planning recipes with Saturday's fresh market finds.   I believe energy passes into food when you can touch the hand that produces it.  With all this in mind, there was only one cookbook that  could turn this energy into gold.  I turned to the pioneer of natural cooking, Deborah Madison.  After decades of following her flawless recipes from The Greens Cookbook. I had a pleasure of eating at Greens in San Francisco, this summer.  I feel I have come full circle.

3/4 cup of navy beans
•1 teaspoon dried sage or 2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, chopped
•2 bay leaves
•2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
•7 tablespoons virgin olive oil
•Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper
few sprigs epazote fresh or dried (optional) Thank You Herb Lady!
•½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
•2 large yellow onions, sliced ¼ inch thick (I used one red and one yellow and I loved the flavors)
•3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
•1 can Italian plum tomatoes (1 pound, 12 ounces), with their juice
• 1 large globe or (equal to the size in japanese) eggplant, cut into ¾-inch cubes
•1 cup bread crumbs (I used sprouted grain, but any fresh bread will do)


Sort through and rinse dry beans. Cover generously with water and soak 6 hours or overnight. (Alternatively, cover them with boiling water and let them soak for 1 hour.)

After the beans have soaked, drain them; cover with 4 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil with bay leaf, sage, epazote (natures Beano) garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil. Simmer for 1/2 hour add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and continue to cook until the beans are firm but still hold their shape. 45 minutes or longer as needed. Drain the liquid and set it aside to use in the gratin or in a soup. Discard herbs and garlic.

I used fresh breadcrumbs made from 3 slices of sprouted grain bread.  Process bread slices in food processor to a fine crumb.  Sprouted Grains are going to give you a fuller nutter crumbs (which I love).  Toast for 15 minutes in a 350 oven.  I added a handful of fresh herbs (lemon thyme, rosemary, sage), fresh cracked pepper and enough olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) to lightly coat all the crumbs.

Warm 4 tablespoons of the oil in a wide skillet with the rest of the sage and the thyme, then add the onions, the chopped garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook slowly until the onions are completely soft. While they are cooking, seed and chop the tomatoes; then strain the juice to remove the seeds. Once the onions are soft, add the eggplant, stirring well to combine; then cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, and continue cooking until the eggplant is tender.

Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and add the cooked beans. Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper, and more salt if necessary. If a stronger flavor of sage and thyme is desired, add more, rubbing the dried herbs first between your fingers. The mixture needs to be well seasoned.

Recipe adapted from Deborah Madison The Greens Book.

Always remember

 To take time out for yourself and enjoy the things that make you happy. Loving on my new origami turtle necklace from Windtwirler Paper Performances at the Southside Farmers Market.


  1. I can't wait to try this Rosanne. The recipie looks and sounds outstanding. Yummy!!!!! Will be making it real soon. I need to shop for the fresh herbs.

  2. This looks good.My mom gave me some eggplants and I've been looking for recipes to make with it.I saw your blog update from your Foodista profile and I hope you could add this eggplant widget at the end of this post so we can direct readers to this recent recipe in your blog. Thanks!