Mediterranean Garlic Tart

dough for 1 single piecrust
2 heads garlic, cloves peeled and lightly smashed
1 1/2 cups milk
1 medium eggplant
3 eggs beaten
4-6 sliced scallions
1 roasted and diced red bell pepper
1 small bunch fresh basil and/or parsley
1 cup freshly grated Romano, Gruyere, or Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup sliced, pitted Kalamata olives (optional)

Place garlic cloves and milk in a small pot. Bring to a simmer, being careful not to boil. Poach the garlic over very low heat for approximately 20 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.

Score the skin of the eggplant by running the sharp prongs of the fork into and along the entire surface of the eggplant. This helps the tough skin to soften while cooking. Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. sauté the eggplant rounds with a little olive oil in a large skillet until lightly browned on both sides and very soft.

Remove garlic from milk with a slotted spoon and mash with a potato masher. Whisk together the milk and garlic with the beaten eggs.

In a small skillet, sauté the scallions in butter or oil until softened, then add to the milk mixture. Mix in the bell pepper.

Chop or tear the basil leaves and chop the parsley, then add herbs to milk mixture. Mix in 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Add salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350F. Place piecrust in a 9-inch pie plate or quiche dish, cutting edges to fit. Lay eggplant slices on the pastry shell. Sprinkle with olive slices, if desired. Pour custard mixture over eggplant and olives and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake until the custard is set, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. A knife should come out of the center clean.

Serve warm or room temperature.

Serves 8 - 10.

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