Leeks, parsley and thyme give this dish a mellow flavor, but onions and basil could be used instead.
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, skin on, sliced into 1/4-inch thick circles
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 leeks, sliced into thin circles
2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Heat a ridged grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush eggplant with olive oil and cook until tender and grill marks are brown, about 4 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Wilt leeks over medium heat, 10 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cook gently until tomatoes lose their fresh scent and thicken, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Chop garlic together with parsley and thyme.
In a small casserole, layer eggplant, tomato mixture and garlic/herb mixture, ending with tomato. Cover and chill overnight. Serve at room temperature.
From “Chicago Tribune,” August 23, 2009, compliments of Leah Eskin.