Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Gratin

Adapted from The New York Times 09/02/2008


Ingredients

Serves 6 - 8


Tomato sauce


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ (28 oz / 800 gr) cans diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glen)

2 sprigs fresh basil

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Ground black pepper to taste


Gratin


2 large eggplants (about 2 lbs / 900 gr in total)

¾ cup / 2.6 / 75 gr grated Parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 tablespoon olive oil


Directions


Roast Eggplant


Preheat the oven to 450°F (220°C)

Cut the stem and calyx off the eggplant, and cut the body lengthwise in half.

Line a baking sheet with foil, and brush the foil with olive oil.

Place the eggplant on the foil, cut side down. Place in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven when skin starts to shrivel, the edges and cut surface are browned, and the eggplant has softened but not collapsed.

Use a spatula to detach from the foil if the eggplant is sticking.

Place the eggplant halves cut side down on a rack set over a baking sheet, or in a colander. Allow to cool and drain for at least 15 minutes.


Tomato sauce


In the meantime make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large (preferably nonstick) skillet over medium-high heat, add onion and saute’ until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about a minute, then add diced tomatoes, salt, black pepper and basil sprigs.

When it starts to bubble, turn down the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring every so often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and are beginning to stick to the pan, about 25 minutes.

Remove the basil sprigs and set aside.


Assemble gratin


Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

In a small bowl combine ¼ cup of Parmesan with the almond meal. Set aside.

Oil a 9x13-inch baking dish (about two-quart).

Spread ½ cup of tomato sauce over the bottom of the dish.

Slice the roasted eggplant about ¼-inch thick, and set an even layer of slices over the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon a layer of sauce over the eggplant, and sprinkle with basil and Parmesan.

Repeat the layers one or two more times (depending on the shape of your baking dish and the size of your eggplant), ending with a layer of tomato sauce topped with the Parmesan and almond meal mixture you set aside.

Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbling and browned on the top.

Remove for the heat allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serve hot, warm, at room temperature or cold (the latter being my favorite way!)