Eggplant Gratin (version IV)

(2 votes)

2 eggplants (about 2 pounds), cut into cubes
salt for eggplant (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
olive oil (about 1/2 cup) (divided)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds of tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
5 ounces grated Gruyere cheese

Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Place eggplant in colander and sprinkle with kosher salt, then let drain over plate 30 minutes. This will help to draw off some of bitter flavor. Rinse eggplant and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly oil 12-by-9-inch baking pan.

Heat large saute pan; add 3 tablespoons oil. Keep heat at medium to high level so eggplant doesn't soak up too much oil. Add eggplant about a third at a time to hot pan and cook until golden. Remove to bowl and continue until all eggplant has been cooked, adding oil as necessary.

To same pan, add onion with 1 tablespoon oil; cook until golden; add garlic for 2 to 3 minutes - do not brown. Remove to bowl and add to eggplant.

To prepare fresh tomatoes, cut a cross in smooth end of each tomato. Remove core. Place large pot of water on to boil. Drop tomatoes into water and blanch 30 seconds or until skin begins to curl on cut area. Remove with slotted spoon; drop into ice water and peel; skins should slip off easily. Cut tomato in half, squeeze gently and seeds will shake out. Coarsely chop tomatoes.

Place tomatoes in saute pan and cook 5 to 8 minutes to thicken slightly. Add tomatoes to eggplant and onion mixture, stirring well to combine.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and top with Gruyere cheese. Bake in preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is hot and bubbling.

Makes 8 servings.

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