Eggplant Au Gratin

Course : Eggplant
Serves: 6
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1 medium eggplant -- (about 1 lb.)
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
1/2 medium lemon juice only
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pepper -- to taste
1 teaspoon tabasco -- to taste
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt to taste
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg -- lightly beaten
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Preparation / Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 deg. . Peel the eggplant and cut the flesh into 1" cubes, more or less. Drop the cubes into boiling salted water, cook about 5 minutes, just until cooked. Drain well. Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms. There should be about 2 cups. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet and add the mushroom slices. Sprinkle with salt and about 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Cook, stirring and tossing, until the mushrooms give up their juice. Continue cooking until the liquid evaporates. Set aside. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan and add the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. Add the milk and cream, stirring rapidly with the whisk. When blended and smooth, add salt and pepper to taste, the remaining lemon juice, nutmeg, and Tabasco to taste. Stir in the mushrooms and eggplant. Stir in the egg. Spoon the mixture into a baking dish (an 8" pie plate works well). Sprinkle with a mixture of crumbs and cheese and dot the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, and then brown under the broiler.

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