CRAFT Recipe: Moussaka

Food & Beverage

After I graduated from college, a friend and I spent a few weeks backpacking around Europe. We ended up spending a few days on the Greek island of Naxos, where we had moussaka for the first time. I’ve spent the past eight years trying to recreate that heavenly blend of eggplant, tomato, meat and egg, and I think I’m getting close, thanks to Elizabeth David and a lot of trial and error. (For those of you who don’t know Elizabeth David, you should! She’s one of my culinary heroes; many people consider her responsible for bringing good, simple cooking to Britain during the post-WWII period.) This recipe is adapted from two moussaka recipes she has in two of her cookbooks. (Both can be found in the Elizabeth David Classics omnibus, which I highly recommend. Many of my most-used recipes come from flipping through those pages.)

Elizabeth David’s Moussaka with some interpretation by me. Serves 6-8.
A large Dutch oven or cast iron pot (mine is about 7 quarts)
Olive oil
3 large eggplants
1 large onion
1½ to 2lbs ground meat (lamb is traditional, ED uses beef, I’ve often gone with buffalo)
2-3 pint tins of whole peeled or diced tomatoes
6 egg yolks
2 pints whole milk
Dishtowels or paper towels
(Note: this can easily be made a vegetarian or even vegan dish by leaving out the meat and egg custard topping. Fried eggplant, onion, and tomatoes will be tasty, too!)
While not difficult, for best results this will take several hours of sporadic work, so plan ahead! Wash and thinly slice the eggplants into rounds (¼” at the thickest). Lay them out on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let sit for at least an hour. If you have more time, turn them over after an hour and let the other side sit salted as well. This step makes frying the eggplant rounds much easier as the salt sweats out some of the moisture from the eggplant.

When the salt crystals have turned to liquid (as you can see in the photo above), pat each round with a dishtowel or paper towel, squeezing out as much excess as possible.

Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a large frying pan and place the rounds in the pan. (I like to have two pans going at once to keep things moving quickly.) The eggplant rounds will soak up a prodigious amount of oil, but they will also release it back into the pan to some extent once they have turned a nice golden brown. When an eggplant round is looking nice and golden (or even a dark brown, although you don’t want them to burn), press it with a spatula into the pan or on top of a less-cooked round to squeeze out some of the oil, and then place on a plate.

While the eggplant is frying, slice up the onion and start it sautéeing in a third pan. When the onion is golden, add in the ground meat and cook until the meat is also golden brown.
Preheat your oven to 375. Start a pot of milk simmering gently and add the beaten egg yolks. ED claims this will turn into a thick batter, but I have never managed to keep it as a smooth custard. Mine usually has egg curds in it, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still delicious. Set aside to cool.

Once the eggplant is done frying, you can start making the layers in your Dutch oven. I like to lay down a small amount of the tinned tomatoes on the bottom (if you’re using whole peeled tomatoes, mash or cut them up a little), and then add a layer of eggplant.

Then add a layer of onion and ground meat.

Then add a layer of tomatoes and their juice. Repeat.
I usually end up with two layers of each, but if you’re using a smaller pot, you might have three. If I’m lucky, I have enough eggplant for another layer on top. The final layer should be the egg custard (although if you’re adapting this recipe to make it vegan, just leave the tomato layer on top, or the eggplant will burn).

Elizabeth David claims it only needs an hour in a moderate oven, but I have had my best results when I’ve left it in to cook for 2 hours (I think it needs at least an hour and a half). Delicious! This is a very hearty dish, so it’s nice with a light, cool salad.

32 thoughts on “CRAFT Recipe: Moussaka

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to say so but this isn’t a mousaka…Maybe they have some common ingredients but its far away from what we call “μουσακα” here in Greece…
    I would love to give you some tips if you want to make the original…
    So,you can contact me…

  2. Anonymous says:
    There is where you can find me…

  3. Carlton Markð¯ says:

    I suggest you to put facebook likes button.

  4. Lindabsyogagirl says:

    Hi i am Linda Bark,i studied at Oxford college and i have worked as a health and fitness authority on many public radio programmes in both the UK and the USA.I’m also an advanced dance practitioner.

  5. Pauliejoy says:

    This place is the Definative Guide Dedicated to giving you all the latest news regarding MMA With special guides and the best news.

  6. accutane overnight says:

    from you seen this trifle medical status quo i determinedly liked it and found textile healthiness evidence

  7. order accutane no prescription says:

    fool you seen this capacious medical spin i assuredly liked it and found classy healthiness statistics

  8. gspfanone says:

    This place is the only Definative Guide Dedicated to giving you all the latest news regarding Martial arts With special offers and the latest news.

  9. Israel Investigations says:

    Admiring the commitment you put into your blog and very informative insight you disclose here. It’s great to discover a blog every once in a while that is not all the same unwanted rehashed material. Excellent work! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your blog URL to my Bookmarks today. On top of that, I admire your site so much that I want to advertise my own site on yours. I will be glad if you contact me at: everythingrainbowhk (AT) listing your annual ad rates. Looking forward to your email!

  10. best way to lose weight says:

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My website is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my users would certainly benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Many thanks!

  11. how to lose weight in a week says:

    Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!

  12. arianahybrooks says:

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  13. juanexpowell says:

    Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  14. nike shox tilbud says:

    I have been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thank you, I’ll try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web site?

  15. XRumerTest says:

    Hello. And Bye.

  16. computer repair shops says:

    There are some attention-grabbing closing dates on this article but I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There’s some validity however I’ll take hold opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as properly

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).