Eggplant Torte a la Provencal

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2 medium eggplants cut into 1/2-inch rounds
2 teaspoons salt
2 medium potatoes, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
thyme sprigs (opt)
3/4 cup basil leaves, torn
Seasoned Oil 
1/3 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped or 1/3 teaspoon dried thyme

1. Sprinkle the eggplant slice with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside for 1 hour. Rinse and pat the eggplant slice dry with paper towels.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, garlic and thyme to make the seasoned oil.

3. Preheat the oven to 350F.

4. Place a large cast-iron skillet over high heat for 3 minutes. While the skillet is heating, brush the eggplant slices with the seasoned oil. Sauté‚ the eggplant over high heat until it is crusty and dark, 2-3 minutes each side. Sauté‚ as many slices as comfortably fit in the pan, then repeat the process. Do not crowd the skillet. Turn the heat down if the eggplant is browning too quickly.

5. Lightly oil an ovenproof baking pan. Overlap the eggplant, potato, tomato, and onion slices, leaving 1/2 inch of each uncovered. Repeat the layers until all the vegetable slices have been used.

6. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper to the remaining seasoned oil and brush the vegetables with this mixture. Place the thyme and basil in between the layered vegetables. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Serve hot or at room temperature. Can be refrigerated for 1 day. Reheat before serving.

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