Eggplant and Tomato Gratin (version II)

3 pounds or 3-large eggplant
4 teaspoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds or 12-medium tomatoes
1 or 2 pinches of sugar
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce parmesan cheese 1/4-cup
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs, coarsely ground

Preheat the oven to 475 F.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, score them down the middle, to the skin but not through it, and place cut side down on oiled baking sheets. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until thoroughly tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Carefully peel away the skins or scoop the eggplant out from the skins, and cut in 1/4-inch thick (.75 cm) lengthwise slices.

Reset oven: 425 F.

Meanwhile, quarter and seed the tomatoes.

Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large, heavy bottomed nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. When it begins to color, after about 30 seconds to a minute, add the tomatoes, sugar, and salt. Cook stirring often, for 20 to 30 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked down and beginning to stick to the pan. Stir in the basil, simmer for a few more minutes, and remove from the heat.

Put the tomatoes through the medium blade of a food mill. Adjust salt and add pepper.

Oil a 3-quart gratin dish. Spoon a small amount of tomato sauce over the bottom and top with one-third of the eggplant. Spoon one-third of the remaining tomato sauce over the eggplant. Make 2 more layers, sprinkle on the cheese, and bread crumbs, and drizzle on the olive oil Bake for 30 minutes in the hot 425F oven, until the top browns and the mixture is sizzling. Note: This will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator before baking.

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