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Eggplant-Zucchini-Tomato Bake

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Time: 30 minutes active; 1.5 hours total. Approximately 30 minutes to prepare and layer the ingredients and 50-60 minutes for cook and cool time.

Serves: 8-12 as a side dish

Inspired by: My friend Samantha Lincoln who is creative and always makes beautiful food. She served this one night for a dinner at her house and told me she just made it up. She used lavender salt, which sounds awesome! I use sea salt since that’s what I keep around, but would love to try that sometime to see how it enhances the flavor. The flavors in this dish are very Mediterranean and go so well with many of the dishes I love to make such as curry chicken kabobs, Armenian rice pilaf and Greek salad – in fact – that’s a perfect combo for a dinner party. Sometime I’d like to make this with thick layer of garbanzo beans to have as a lunch/meal, rather than just as a side dish.

Supplies:

  • 9 x 13 x 2 inch glass baking dish
  • Turkey baster (not required, but it’s helpful to have something to easily remove the water that accumulates in the dish from the veggies while cooking)

Ingredients:

  • 2 small Japanese eggplants or 1 large eggplant
  • 1 – 3 zucchini depending on size
  • 4 – 8 tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil (or you can substitute with fresh Italian parsley)
  • ½ – 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Approximately 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • Approximately 1-2 teaspoons black pepper
  • Approximately 1-2 teaspoons white pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Slice eggplant and zucchini into 1/8-inch rounds and slice tomatoes as thin as possible so they hold together (so soft middle doesn’t fall out).
  • Lightly coat the inside of your baking dish with olive oil or non-stick olive oil spray.
  • Lightly brush the eggplant and zucchini with olive oil.
  • Layer the eggplant in the bottom of baking dish, then zucchini, and then tomato (do this twice so you have six layers – save the prettiest tomato slices for the top layer). Between each layer, lightly sprinkle salt, white and black pepper, chopped basil and parmesan cheese.
  • Cover with foil and cook for about 30 minutes, then remove some of the water that has accumulated in the bottom of the dish (a turkey baster works well for removing water).
  • Uncover and cook for another 15 minutes – watch so that the cheese and basil on top don’t burn.
  • Remove any standing water in the bottom of the dish, and let it rest and cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Wine Suggestions: You’ll probably select a wine to go best with your main course, but if you were just pairing with this dish, a lighter style Sangiovese or Grenache blend would be nice, possibly a Red Burgundy, or a crisp, aromatic white such as Sancerre or Gruner Veltliner.

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