Old-fashioned Scalloped Eggplant

scalloped eggplant in casserole dish

Last week the eggplants at the farmers’ market just seemed to call me. Their beautiful deep purple color, and smooth curves made them aesthetically pleasing. I also knew that eggplants are known for their versatility because they have little flavor of their own, but rather absorb the flavors of the foods and spices that they are cooked with.

Once I had purchased an eggplant, I had a new challenge – finding a hundred-year-old recipe that called for eggplant.

After browsing through old magazines and cookbooks, I think that I found a winner. Scalloped Eggplant is made by slicing eggplant, then layering it in a casserole dish with grated cheese, and smothering with tomato sauce. It is then baked in the oven until the eggplant is tender.

The Scalloped Eggplant was delicious, and can be served as either a meatless main dish or a hearty side dish.

Here’s the original recipe:

recipe for scalloped eggplant
Source: American Cookery (October, 1919)

Today eggplant is generally written as one word, but that has not always been the case. Based on the way it was written in this recipe, it was two words a hundred years ago.

I used cheddar cheese when I made this recipe. And, I didn’t sprinkle the layers in the casserole dish with salt because I had previously soaked the eggplant in salt water. There is also salt in the cheese and tomato sauce. Sometimes I think that people in 1919 liked saltier foods than what we do today.

Scalloped Eggplant

  • Servings: 3-5
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

I eggplant

1 tablespoon salt

1 quart water

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

pepper

Peel eggplant and slice it into 1/2 inch slices. In a large bowl, combine the water and salt. Add the eggplant slices. Put a plate or other weight on the eggplant slices to keep them from floating. Let soak for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse.

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Pour one-fourth of the tomato sauce in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Next put one-third of the eggplant slices in the dish.  Add another fourth of the tomato sauce, then add one-third of the cheese and sprinkle with pepper. Continue layering until all of the ingredients are used, ending with the cheese.

Cover dish and bake in oven for 35 minutes. Remove lid and continue baking until the eggplant is tender (about another 10-20 minutes). Remove from oven and serve.

33 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Scalloped Eggplant

    1. Similarly to you, I don’t think that I ever tasted eggplant until I was an adult. I thought that it was very gourmet the first time I had it. I’m not sure why my mother never cooked this vegetable.

    1. I also find it fascinating how spelling changes. “Percent” is another example of a word that has evolved over the years. A hundred years ago, it was often spelled “per cent.”

  1. Delicious combination!
    As for salt, it could be that they were using less saltier salt. Even today, you can notice big differences between the types. Also interesting to see they used the term “egg plant” rather than “eggplant”.

    1. I bet you are right. So often old recipes seem to call for too much salt. I learned something new. I hadn’t realized that salt could vary in “saltiness.”

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