Passionate, lifelong New Orleans chef brings Louisiana history into dishes _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Maureen Detweiler's Eggplant Florentine.

Eggplant Florentine

Serves 4 to 6. Recipe is from Maureen Detweiler of New Orleans.

1 large or 2 small eggplants (1½ to 2 pounds all together)

Seasoned salt

All-purpose flour

Olive oil

Creamed Spinach (see recipe)

8 ounces sliced or grated Swiss cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Peel eggplant if you wish. Slice across into about 12 half-inch slices. Sprinkle slices with seasoned salt and dust lightly with flour, shaking off excess.

3. In a skillet, brown slices in olive oil quickly on high. Set aside.

4. Prepare Creamed Spinach. Place half the eggplant slices in a layer in a shallow baking dish. Top with half the Creamed Spinach and half the Swiss cheese. Repeat. Bake for 30 minutes.

Creamed Spinach

¼ cup butter

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

¼ cup milk or cream

1 pound chopped fresh or thawed and drained frozen spinach

1. In a medium sauce pan, heat the butter until it is light brown.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir constantly on low until spinach is tender, about 5 minutes.