Roasted Eggplant Fans

six 5- to 6-inch Italian or Chinese eggplant
2 medium white onions, core left on, cut in half and sliced 1/4-inch thick across the poles
2 medium sized ripe tomatoes, cored, cut in half and sliced 1/4-inch thick
12 small fresh thyme sprigs
6 small whole bay leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh Herbes de Provence (available at your local supermarket)
2 whole garlic cloves, skins left on
salt and pepper to taste

Lay the eggplant flat on the table and cut two evenly spaced slices parallel to the table from the smooth end to the stem end, but donít slice through the stem. The result should leave the eggplant in whole form but separated into 3 flaps that are joined at the end by the stem. Lightly season with salt and pepper between the flaps.

Layer alternating slices of onion and tomato between the flaps, as many of each as you can fit. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Jam the thyme sprigs and bay leaves into the top layer.

In a mixing bowl combine the olive oil and the Herbes de Provence and mix thoroughly. Liberally spoon the herb oil between each layer over the tomatoes and onions and a little over the top of the eggplant.

Place the stuffed eggplant into a casserole or baking dish just big enough not to have too much room left over. Scatter the garlic cloves around in between the eggplant, sprinkle the whole thing lightly with salt and pepper and place in a 350F oven for about an hour and a half. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

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