Eggplant Casserole (version VIII)
1 medium eggplant or 2-3 small, peeled and sliced horizontally into 1/4-inch rounds
1. Use a little of the olive oil to oil a large gratin dish or 11 x 14-inch baking pan.
2 or 3 medium zucchini, scrubbed and trimmed, sliced horizontally into 1/4-inch rounds
2 or 3 medium yellow summer squash (optional), scrubbed and trimmed, sliced horizontally into 1/4-inch rounds
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 large yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons of olive oil
4-8 tablespoons of grated parmigiano-reggiano or romano cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2. Heat the remaining olive oil and sauté the onions until softened and golden. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is golden. Do not permit the garlic to turn dark brown or burn (that will make it bitter).
3. Layer the eggplant, onion mixture, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, cheese, and seasonings in the baking pan, ending with a layer of tomatoes, onions, and cheese.
4. Bake in a 350° F. oven for about 45 to 60 minutes, until tender and bubbly, with a golden brown top. Serve hot or at room temperature.
We also make this dish with a bottom layer of 3-4 peeled and sliced baking potatoes. This makes the dish more robust and filling (and gives the delicious juices somewhere to go). In the Mediterranean, it would be called a Tian.
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