*  Exported from  MasterCook  *
                              EGGPLANT GRATIN
 Recipe By     : 
 Serving Size  : 6    Preparation Time :0:00
 Categories    : Vegetables                       Side Dish
                 Main Dish                        Vegetarian
   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
 --------  ------------  --------------------------------
    2      pound         Japanese or round eggplants
                         Oil -- for frying
    3      tablespoon    Virgin olive oil
    1                    Red onion -- finely chopped
    1                    Garlic clove -- finely chopped
      1/2  teaspoon      Herbes de Provence
    2 1/2  pound         Ripe tomatoes
                         - peeled -- seeded and chopped
                         Pepper -- freshly milled
                         Sugar -- if needed
      1/8  teaspoon      Saffron threads
    2                    Eggs
    1      cup           Ricotta cheese
      1/3  cup           Milk or whipping cream
      1/2  cup           Grated Parmesan cheese
   10      lg            Basil leaves -- cut or torn
                         - into small pieces
    3      ounce         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. DEBORAH MADISON ~
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