This is a combination of my mother's eggplant Parmigiana and a French tian. With the addition of the potato, this makes a great vegetarian main course or a single side dish that combines a starch and a vegetable.
1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise at an angle into long, 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 large potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into half-moons (optional)
3 zucchini, cut lengthwise into thin strips
2 large tomatoes, halved and cut into half-moons
5 to 7 tablespoons olive oil (about 1/2 cup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1. Preheat the broiler to medium-high.
2. Spread the eggplant, potato (if using), and zucchini slices on individual baking sheets, one for each ingredient, coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season with salt. Then place them under the broiler until they start to color, 3 to 5 minutes. This will evaporate some of their water so that they don't go soggy in the final dish.
3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
4. Combine the bread crumbs, half of the chopped herbs, half of the grated cheese, and a dash of salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
5. Combine the remaining herb mixture, grated cheese, all of the garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper in another bowl.
6. Coat the bottom and sides of a rectangular baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
7. From one short side of the dish, stack the eggplant, zucchini, potato (if using), and tomatoes so that they stand upright on edge against one another. Sprinkle a little of the chopped herb, garlic, and cheese mixture in between some of the layers as you work your way across the baking dish.
8. When completed, drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the bread-crumb mixture.
9. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Check it just before the end of the baking time. If it looks a little dry, drizzle with a little extra olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature, not hot.
From The Tucci Table by Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt, Gallery Books 2014.
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