• Tommy Centola

Baked Oysters and Eggplant from Rima and Richard Collin

Updated: Jan 4

Richard Collin was the original food critic in the city of New Orleans. He came to New Orleans to teach history at the University of New Orleans. When he passed away in 2010, he was emeritus professor of History. The New Orleans Underground Gourmet was the first guide in book form to New Orleans restaurants. He was hired by the States-Item to become what some say as the most influential restaurant critic. He and his wife Rima wrote one of the most iconic New Orleans cookbooks, The New Orleans Cookbook. Rima was the cook and Richard was the taster. In 2006, local booksellers said it was one of the top three best-selling cookbooks purchased by those restocking kitchens after their homes were destroed by Katrina.

With oyster season beginning, here is a great oyster main dish

2 firm medium Eggplants ( about 1 1/4 pound each)

4 cups chopped Onions

5/8 cup (1 1/4 cup) Salt Butter

1/2 pound thinly sliced Bacon

1/2 cup plus 4 heaping teaspoons Italian Breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

1 1/2 pints fresh shucked Oysters (about 2 1/2 dozen medium-sized oysters) drained

In an open shallow baking dish, bake the eggplants for 40 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. In a small skillet, sauté the onion in 1/4 cup butter until glazed but not brown. In another small skillet, fry the bacon until crisp, then drain on several layers of paper towels.

With a sharpe knife, cut off the stem ends of the eggplants and eppl them carefully. Discard the skin and place the meat of the eggplant in a colander to drain. After the eggplant is well drained, chop into 3/4-inch cubes nad combine with the sautéed onion in a largechina or stainless steel bowl. Crumble the bacon into the mixture, then add 1/2 cup Italian Breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and drained oysters.

Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan. Divide the eggplant and oyster mixture into 4 equal portions and place in individual ramekins or baking dishes. Pour 1/4 of the melted butter over each portion, then sprinkle each evenly with a heaping teaspoon of Italian bread crumbs. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the mixture bubbles vigorously around the edges and the top is well browned.

Enjoy!!!

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