Eggplant and Tomato Bake
- 2 globe or 4 Asian eggplant
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 6 ripe, juicy tomatoes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup coarse dried bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Preheat an oven to 400 F
- Trim off the stem ends from the eggplant and cut each one into slices 1/2 inch thick. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush both sides with 1 to 1 1/2 Tbs. of the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. of the salt and 1/4 tsp. of the pepper.
- Cook until the undersides of the eggplant slices are lightly browned and a crust has formed on the tops, about 15 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook until the insides are soft and the undersides are browned, about 10 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, coarsely chop the tomatoes and put them in a bowl with their juices. Add the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, the remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper, the garlic and thyme.
- Arrange the eggplant slices in a layer in the prepared gratin dish, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with half of the basil. Spread the tomato mixture over the eggplant, slightly lifting the slices to let the juices run underneath. Sprinkle evenly with the bread crumbs and dot with the butter.
- Bake until the tomatoes are bubbling and the bread crumbs are browned, 20 to 25 minutes.