For this multi-layered dish, sliced tomatoes and eggplant are seasoned and covered with bread crumbs, then baked until fork tender. Betty Rosbottom shows us how to make this tasty and healthy veggie dish.
- 1/2 cup olive oil plus a little extra for oiling the baking pan
- 1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons of unflavored dry bread crumbs
- 3 pounds ripe, but not mushy, tomatoes
- A 1- pound eggplant, unpeeled but rinsed and patted dry
- 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons Herbes de Provence plus a little extra if needed (See note.)
- Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pour enough 1 /2 to 2 tablespoons or enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of a medium (2 quart) oven-to-table baking pan, then sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of bread crumbs.
- Core, then slice tomatoes into 1/4- inch thick rounds and set aside.
- Remove and discard stem from the eggplant and cut into thin, 1/8- inch thick rounds. Set aside.
- in a small bowl mix together garlic and parsley.
- Make a layer of tomato slices in the baking pan. Salt and pepper generously and sprinkle with a scant 2 teaspoons of Herbes de Provence. Make a layer of eggplant slices and repeat seasonings. Spread the parsley and garlic mixture over the eggplant. Then make another layer of tomatoes and seasonings, followed by another layer of eggplant and seasonings. Finally, make one last layer of tomatoes and seasonings. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the tomatoes and coat with remaining bread crumbs.
- Bake until vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife and crust is golden and crisp, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove and cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. (The gratin can be baked 4 to 5 hours ahead; leave at room temperature and reheat in a preheated 400- degree oven until warm, 20 minutes or longer.) Serves 6.
Note: There are often juices in the bottom of the pan after this gratin has been baked. This is normal as the vegetables give off some of their water during the cooking process. The juices are delicious when mopped up with a piece of good bread.
Note: Herbes de Provence is the name given to a mixture of dried herbs used in southern France. The most typical herbs included are basil, fennel seed, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, summer savory and thyme. You can find the mixture in many groceries. For a good homemade version, mix together in a small bowl 3 tablespoons dried thyme leaves, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried summer savory, and 1 1 /2 teaspoons dried marjoram.