*  Exported from  MasterCook  *
                              EGGPLANT GRATIN
 Recipe By     : 
 Serving Size  : 6    Preparation Time :0:00
 Categories    : Vegetables                       Main dish
   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
 --------  ------------  --------------------------------
    2       lb           Japanese or round eggplants
                         Oil for frying
    3       tb           Virgin olive oil
    1                    Red onion -- finely chopped
    1                    Garlic clove -- finely chopped
      1/2   ts           Herbes de Provence
    2 1/2   lb           Ripe tomatoes
                         - peeled, seeded and chopped
                         Pepper, freshly milled
                         Sugar, if needed
      1/8   ts           Saffron threads
    2                    Eggs
    1       c            Ricotta cheese
      1/3   c            Milk or whipping cream
      1/2   c            Grated Parmesan cheese
   10       lg           Basil leaves -- cut or torn
                         - into small pieces
    3       oz           Gruyere cheese
                         - shredded or thinly sliced
   SLICE EGGPLANTS diagonally about 1/2-inch thick. Discard pieces that are
   all skin on one side. If using round eggplants, halve them lengthwise, then
   cut into 1/2 or 1/4 rounds, about 1/2-inch thick. Generously cover bottom
   of wide skillet with oil. When hot, add eggplant in single layer and fry
   until golden on both sides and flesh is tender. Drain on paper towels. Add
   more oil, if needed, and fry rest of eggplant. Make sure oil is hot each
   time you add a new batch. FOR SAUCE: Warm olive oil in skillet and add
   onion, garlic and herbs. Stir to coat onion with oil. Cook gently until
   onions soften, 12 to 15 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, salt lightly and
   raise heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until juice has evaporated and
   sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If
   tomatoes are on the acid side, add sugar to taste to correct balance. FOR
   CUSTARD: Cover saffron threads with a few tablespoons hot water and let
   stand a few minutes. In bowl, beat eggs and stir in ricotta cheese, milk
   and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in saffron with
   liquid. FOR GRATIN: Spread a little tomato sauce over bottom of baking
   dish, then arrange a layer of eggplant slices, slightly overlapping. Season
   with salt and pepper, scatter half the basil, add Gruyere. Make another
   basil-eggplant layer. Cover with rest of the tomato sauce. Pour custard
   over the top. Preheat oven to 350F and bake 40 minutes or until custard
   sets and is a delicate golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to rest a
   few minutes before serving.
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