If ever you wanted to perfectly capture all of the best flavors of summer in one simple dish, this is it. I saw it on A Cooking Life recently and couldn’t stop thinking about it. You really ought to visit the link because her pictures are much prettier (whose aren’t??) and because she gives a lot of useful information about the execution. Her argument is that the success of such a simple dish is entirely contingent upon the quality of the ingredients, and therefore recommends that you make your own tomato sauce and bread crumbs--I did, and I do agree with her. Truly, the flavors are exquisite: like sun in a casserole dish. The problem I’m having now is that I can’t wait to eat the leftovers, but the next meal is breakfast…
1 1/2-2 lbs eggplant
1/2 C coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 C tomato sauce (I used the sauce recipe here)
1/2 C grated parmesan
3/4 C bread crumbs made from artisan bread
Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch wide slices. Drizzle with olive oil, arrange on a baking sheet, and broil until browned on both sides. Cover with another baking sheet for 20 minutes to allow slices to steam. Place a layer of slices in a baking dish. This is my Alsatian tart pan—I don’t have many opportunities to use it, so I was thrilled this evening when, as I rummaged through the cupboard looking for the right pan, I remembered the woman who sold it to me in Keysersberg, France saying that it would be perfect for ‘des gratins….”
Spoon homemade tomato sauce over the eggplant, followed by some chopped fresh basil and a dusting of grated parmesan cheese. Repeat as many times as necessary to use up the eggplant slices.
Top with fresh bread crumbs and drizzle with a little olive oil
Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, until the crumbs are browned, the sauce is bubbly and the eggplant is soft.
I was raving about the dish to my neighbor who is, unfortunately, allergic to eggplants—she wants to try it with zucchini. Oh my heavens, a whole new world is opening to me here…