A few inquiries after my post about the garden party, and the food served has prompted this post. I haven’t a clue where this recipe found its way into my box, but I’ve been making it for forty years or more. It’s so simple, and a great way to use up the potager’s bounty. Here’s how it’s done:
Peel 3 medium eggplants (about 3 lb.) and slice 1/2″ thick. Lay on paper towels and sprinkle with salt, covering the top layer with paper towels. Allow to sit for 2-3 hours to remove excess water. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a casserole with lid (I use my bean pot/cookie jar shown above) drizzle a bit of olive oil. Place a layer of eggplant, cutting pieces so it’s a fairly solid layer. Sprinkle with a tsp. of finely chopped garlic. Cover the eggplant with a layer of tomatoes sliced 1/2″ thick, making a solid layer. Add a layer of basil leaves over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with 1/2 c. diced onion and 1/2 c. diced green peppers, and a grind or two of black pepper.
Repeat until the casserole is nearly full…mine holds three layers, plus there’s room for an extra slice of tomato and sprinkle of onions and peppers right on the top. Place the lid on top and bake for 4 hours. Often, I just turn the oven off and leave the casserole there until ready to serve, so it stays warm. Just before serving, cut thru the entire mixture in a 1″ checkerboard pattern to make it easier to spoon onto slices of baguette.
This can also be refrigerated and reheated later, or frozen in smaller portions. I’m sure there’s an official Italian name for this dish, but our family just calls it “Ugly Spread.” It’s about the only way I can get most of them to eat eggplant!