Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recipe: Eggplant & Tomato Gratin

I still can't pass by the tomatoes and eggplant at the farmer's market, which means I'm still looking for new and delicious ways to keep them interesting.

Now when I think of "gratin" I think of potatoes in cream topped with cheese or bread crumbs.  So I was suspicious when I came across recipes for "Tomato Gratin" (Did that mean tomatoes baked in cream & topped with breadcrumbs?!? That sounds like a soupy mess!) or "Eggplant Gratin" or, even worse, "Tomato and Eggplant Gratin."  However, it appears that "gratin" is a fancy-pants way of saying "casserole topped with cheese and/or breadcrumbs."

Casseroles I can do!

Below is a much healthier hybrid of all the recipes I found. This would be good with zucchini instead of the eggplant if you're one of those eggplant haters. If you are worried about the water content in the tomatoes, you can de-seed them but I used very meaty heirloom varieties that did not shed too much juice. You could serve this as a side dish or a vegetarian main course. However you eat it, you'll find yourself making it often when tomatoes and eggplants are at their peak.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
2 medium-large eggplant, sliced 1/4" thick
3 large tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
4 cipollini onions or 1 medium onion, sliced thin
olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 c grated parm
1/2 c grated mozzarella
1.25 c panko breadcrumbs
1/4 c mixed fresh woody herbs, chopped (I used 2 sprigs of rosemary, 2 sprigs of oregano and the rest thyme)

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.
2. Lightly oil the bottom of a 8x13in casserole. Put half of the eggplant in one layer & season it with salt and pepper. Top with half of the onions.  Next, place half of the tomatoes on top of onions and top with 1/3 of the chopped herbs and a bit of salt and pepper.
3. Repeat for the next layer.
4. Top final layer of tomatoes with the mozzarella.
5. Mix the remaining herbs with the parm, breadcrumbs and about 2 tsp of olive oil.  Spread the mixture evenly over the mozzarella cheese.
6. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until eggplant is tender and the topping is golden brown (cook longer if you sliced your eggplant thicker).

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