Claudia Sanders' Eggplant Casserole

Claudia Sanders, who was the wife of Colonel Harland Sanders and an accomplished chef in her own right, bestowed many culinary gifts on Kentucky at her restaurant, Claudia Sanders’ Dinner House, which still serves happy customers to this day in Shelbyville. Among them is this casserole, featuring melt-in-your-mouth eggplant topped with golden-crispy cracker crumbs. Ingredients 1 pint half-and-half (approximate) 1 stick butter 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 4 cups eggplant, peeled and cut into small pieces (about 1/2-inch cubes) 88 single saltine cracker squares or 2 individual packs saltines, broken into crumbs Preparation Soak eggplant pieces overnight in salted water. Drain before preparations continue. In a cooking pot, cover eggplant with fresh, lightly salted water and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until eggplant is tender. Drain in a colander. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of large casserole with about a third of the cracker crumbs. Cover with 2 cups of the eggplant. Season with half the salt and pepper. Cut half the butter into small pieces and sprinkle over top of eggplant. Cover with another third of the crumbs. Add remaining 2 cups eggplant. Season with rest of salt and pepper. Cover top with remaining crumbs. Cut remaining butter into small pieces and sprinkle over top of crumbs. Pour in enough half-and-half to cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until top layer browns. Serves 6-8.