Adapted from Rena Salaman’s book Greek Food
Serves 6 as a first course, four as a main course with salad and bread
1 ½ lb Asian eggplant
1 lb onion, cut pole-to-pole in thin half-moon slices
1 tbl olive oil
3- 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 lb fresh juicy tomatoes if available, plus half cupful of water OR
14-ounce can plum tomatoes with their juice
1 tsp dry oregano or dry menthe leaves*
1 tsp dry thyme or 1 tbl fresh thyme leaves
2-3 tbl fresh parsley, minced
*Mente leaves are an Indian seasoning used fresh or dry. The dried herb tastes like a combination of thyme and oregano but with a caramel note as well. I’ve been using it to add a subtle new twist to Mediterranean dishes.
Cook Asian eggplants using the basic preparation and set aside.
To make the sauce:
Lightly toss the onions with oil and sauté until they have a rich brown color, add the garlic and continue to cook until the raw smell of the garlic disappears. Do not rush the browning of the onions.
Add the fresh tomatoes with the water or the canned tomatoes with their juices, oregano, thyme, parsley, and dry menthe leaves if available. Cover and cook the sauce on low for about 15 minutes.
Gently toss the reserved eggplant with the tomato mixture, taste for salt and pepper, and bake in a gratin dish at 350° for 30 minutes covered, 10 minutes uncovered until the whole mixture is bubbling and heated through. This is great made a day or two ahead and served warm or at room temperature.