It's not often you one-up a recipe from a seasoned chef...well, ok, it is often. It happens all the time -- to everyone, apparently. Go to any recipe site and read the comments: everyone has doctored the recipe they attempted and it supposedly comes out even better! Although I never quite understand how they know it's better when they didn't make the recipe as it was written...but that's no matter.
Tonight I made Ina Garten's Eggplant Gratin. Though I made a big improvement (so I think): instead of using a "good-quality store bought marinara sauce" as she directs, I used my own, homemade sauce right out of the freezer (Literally, right out. I was crumbling frozen marinara over my gratin. Kind of strange.). Here's my frozen sauce.
Anyway, I sliced some slender, lavender Japanese eggplant and shiny, globe eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds.
I pan-fried them in some olive oil, layered with a ricotta/egg/
Parmigiano Reggiano (the good stuff!) mixture, topped with homemade marinara and extra cheese and slid that sucker in the oven!