This makes an elegant summer side dish or, accompanied by crusty bread, a light main dish. It can be served warm or at room temperature.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
- 4 medium red onions, cut into thin rounds
- 4 medium eggplants, trimmed and cut lengthwise into thin slices (about 2 1/4 pounds total)
- 1/4 cup blend of finely chopped, fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary and basil
- 4 medium zucchini, or a combination of zucchini and yellow squash, trimmed and cut lengthwise into thin slices
- 4 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Sea salt
- 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Have an oval gratin pan (preferably copper) or a large, low-walled ovenproof saute pan at hand.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in the gratin or saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook for about 12 minutes, stirring a few times, until softened and mostly translucent.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a separate large saute pan over medium-high heat, until the oil shimmers. Carefully lay in the eggplant slices (away from you); cook for 2 minutes, then turn them over and cook for 2 minutes so they are slightly softened. Transfer to a plate.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon (one-fourth) of the herbs over the onions. Lay the zucchini slices over the onions in an even layer and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the herbs. Use the sauteed eggplant slices to create a layer over the herbed zucchini slices. Sprinkle the eggplant evenly with 1 tablespoon of the herbs, then repeat the process using the tomato slices and the remaining tablespoon of herbs. Season lightly with salt.
Transfer the pan to the oven; bake for 45 minutes, then carefully drain off and discard any excess liquid from the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top and return the pan to the oven to bake for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with pepper to taste. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
From Rob Stewart of Arlington.
Tested by Rob Stewart and Bonnie S. Benwick.
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