My mom made this dish when I was growing up, and it is still a crowd-pleaser with my family. The tricky thing about eggplant is whether or not you let the water drain. It is usually worth the effort, as the rather bitter juices releasing from the eggplant can ruin this dish. The flavors of the eggplant, the tomatoes and good quality cheese go well together and the zucchini slices add a little crunch and complexity. Yes, it’s not the classic Italian dish, but it’s a great adaptation!
1 medium-sized firm eggplant
1 lb zucchini
3 cups tomato sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella, gruyere, fontina, monterey jack or a combination thereof
1/2 cup shredded parmiggiano reggiano
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds, salt on both sides, lay slices on a rack over a rimmed sheet and let drain for about 2 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Dry off eggplant slices with paper towels.
Arrange slices on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and put into the hot oven.
Let eggplant roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, making sure that they don’t brown excessively.
Slice zucchini in 1/4 slices lengthwise.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy non-stick sauce pan over medium heat and arrange zucchini slices in one layer. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes, turn over and let cook for another 2-3 minutes. Set zucchini slices aside and continue with the rest of the zucchini slices until they are all sautéed this way.
Take eggplant slices from the oven.
Using a 9×14 inch casserole, layer eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, cheese mixture and herbs, repeat layers finishing with cheese and herbs.
Bake in the oven without a cover for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.