I love cooking, but my creations tended to be more on the simple side of things, if one did not count making baked goods from scratch, because I would be lying if I said those aren’t time consuming. I blame this on the fact that I began to cook in college. Even so, I’ve always harbored a wish to tackle and conquer more complicated dishes.
The other day, I came across a recipe for moussaka - Greek moussaka, to be exact. In theory, it seemed to be fairly simple: layers of roasted eggplant interspersed with a tomato “meat” sauce topped with béchamel sauce and shredded Parmesan. On the other hand, the steps involved meant that there were more chances to make mistakes. Still, I endeavoured to at least try, even though it would mark the first of many things…
Though I have cooked with eggplant before, I have never roasted them. In addition, eggplant is one of those things where it’s either a hit or miss; either it comes out well, or there’s something off about it (perhaps the slight bitterness from the seeds?). Then there are those moments it just comes out, and you don’t really know if it’s good or bad. I’ve also never made a sauce with a French name before and to be quite honest, I’ve never made something that required a roux base, either. Well, good thing I enjoy challenges – plus, I had the entire kitchen to myself for the 4-5 hour undertaking.
Once I completed it, I realised something: the only thing daunting about this dish is the fact that it is time consuming. The preparation of the eggplant, the roasting of the eggplant, the making of the “meat” sauce and the béchamel, not to mention the assembling, and finally, the baking of the moussaka as a whole. I’m happy to say that, yes, it is worth it, because it came out rather well and pleasing to my taste buds… if not all that visually pleasing due to the sputtering of the sauce underneath.
I can’t help but think of “lasagna” when I see it… but it tastes a bit more exotic.