Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Gratin

I first published this recipe on Blogcritics as the following article: Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Gratin

My Local Farmer’s Market was literally overflowing with squash, tomatoes and eggplant this week.  I felt it was my personal duty to do something about it!  In truth, I’d indulged a little bit over the weekend so my standard go-to of eggplant and zucchini fritti with crushed raw tomato sauce was probably off limits.  This inspired me to try to coax all that yumminess out of the humble aubergine in the oven, with much less oil.  Here’s what I landed upon: a layered, baked eggplant, squash and tomato gratin topped with some goat cheese, herbs and panko.  My children had fun layering all the veggies into the casserole dish and it came out bubbly and silky and wonderful!  We grilled up a quick flat iron steak to accompany the gratin, and sipped on a luscious zinfandel.  Enjoy!

1 medium eggplant, sliced into ¼ rounds
½ sweet onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 small zucchini
3 small tomatoes
15 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed from stalks
¼ cup reduced sodium chicken broth (vegetable broth is fine too)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
3 Tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425.  Prepare a 2-3 quart casserole dish by spraying with cooking spray. Set aside. Slice the eggplant into rounds, and if it is large, cut the bigger rounds in half.  Add 2 Tbsp of the olive oil to a large sauté pan.  Heat over medium and add the eggplant. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.   Saute for a few minutes until lightly brown and beginning to soften.  Add about ½ of the chicken broth and continue to simmer for 2 more minutes.   Remove the eggplant from the pan and add a bit more of the oil, and then the chopped onion, garlic, and about half of the thyme leaves. Continue to sauté until all the vegetables are slightly browned and tender, adding stock as needed to moisten.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Add the eggplant mixture to the prepared baking dish, and then layer the zucchini and tomatoes over the top in concentric circles.   Garnish with the remaining thyme and olive oil, and then season with more salt and pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes or so.  Remove baking dish from the oven and top the vegetables with the panko, goat cheese and parmesan cheese.  Place back in the oven for 10 more minutes.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy! 

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