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Dining al fresco: eggplant, tomato and potato gratin

Let’s dream for a while, are you with me? Let’s imagine that is summer… daylight is a bit longer and lingers upon golden wheat fields, spreading a soft glow on the horizon line. The shadow is cool, fragrant with linden and jasmine. The cicadas sing tirelessly, enjoying every precious moment of this magical summer. It is the moment to sit in the garden and admire the night that slowly takes over the day. This is when I like to look back at the day that has just passed, making plans for tomorrow and building castles in Spain.

Eggplant, tomato and potato gratin

Summer evenings make me want to dine out, not to leave anything behind, to be just like cicadas, enjoying to the full daylight and summer. Dining out creates many beautiful memories, a collage of flavours and fragrances, often illuminated by candlelight or by the silver moon, a combination of senses to bring with you throughout the winter, to live again a summer glow even in the coldest evening.

Dining out means arranging a few ingredients in a recipe that takes care of itself, while we set the table, or we go searching for a few candles, picking up fresh herbs to enrich the dishes and water the flowers at dusk, so that they can come back to life after the heat of the day.

Eggplant, tomato and potato gratin

Eggplant, tomato and potato gratin

What I have prepared a few nights ago – when summer was still alive and not yet a faded and cold memory – is a vegetarian dish, which requires less than one hour of baking and just 10 minutes to make it. While the vegetables cook in the oven, spend this precious time to rediscover the beauty of everyday life, then, when the dish is ready, go outside and enjoy your dinner!

A note on ingredients. The tomatoes I used are the ox heart tomatoes, my favourite ones: they have firm flesh, few seeds and are very tasty. If you cannot find them, choose beefsteak tomatoes, or large, fleshy tomatoes. About the cheese: I found a Greek PDO Feta. It was milder, less salty and more crumbly than the usual feta I buy already packed. It was delicious. 

Eggplant, tomato and potato gratin
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Eggplant, tomato and potato gratin

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword eggplants, feta cheese, gratin, green tomatoes, potato
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 2 people as a main course, 4 as an appetiser or side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplants
  • 2 potatoes, peeled, medium sized
  • 2 ox heart tomatoes, or beefsteak tomatoes
  • 200 g (1 1/3 cups) Greek feta cheese, crumbled
  • salt
  • dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Start by thinly slicing the eggplants, the potatoes and the tomatoes.
  • Grease with extra virgin olive oil a 26-cm round baking pan and arrange a layer of potatoes on the bottom, with their edges slightly overlapping. Season the potatoes with salt, cover with a layer of tomatoes, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle some oregano on top. I didn’t salt the tomatoes as I was going to crumble feta directly on top.
  • So now make a layer of crumbled feta, and top it with a layer of eggplants, overlapping the edges again. Season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Repeat the layers and finish with the eggplants. Sprinkle the eggplant with breadcrumbs and season with salt, dried oregano and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Cover with a lid, or with some aluminum foil, and bake for about 45 minutes. Check the vegetables and, if everything is cooked through, remove the lid and bake for 10 more minutes, so that you will get a golden, crisp top.
  • Serve hot or warm.
Tried this recipe?We love to see your creations! Snap a pic and tag @julskitchen and hashtag it #myseasonaltable!

Taste test

The first adjective that comes to mind is Mediterranean. Feta and eggplants along with oregano immediately make me think of Greece. The flavours of the dish are enhanced by the cooking method, because all the vegetables are cooked by the water released from the tomatoes and the steam that is created in the baking pan.

More recipes with eggplants from the blog

  • Baked eggplants. Colours and textures of that once loved recipe surfaced along with the ingredients: eggplants of course, either the round purple ones or those thin long ones, then breadcrumbs, parsley, capers, garlic and some grated Parmigiano. There it was, my forgiving recipe, thick slices of eggplants topped with boldly flavoured breadcrumbs, roasted in the oven until golden and crisp. 
  • Eggplant meatballs. According to the season, you can substitute roasted eggplants with boiled potatoes, roasted butternut squash or breadcrumbs soaked in milk. I usually choose between grated Parmigiano Reggiano, aged Pecorino or Provolone to add flavour to the meat, sometimes adding brined capers, too. This time I opted for Parmigiano, along with a pinch of dry oregano to give a mediterranean touch.
  • A brown rice salad with an Autumn flair. The backbone of this salad is a blend of brown basmati and wild rice, which keeps the chewy al dente texture even after a few hours in the fridge. I added roasted butternut squash and eggplant, then olives, capers and chives. It is an autumn brown rice salad for your lunches in the office and for those evenings where you already know that you will be late and want to prepare something in advance. 

In these times of the year I can’t help but singing one of my favorite songs every time I see a wavy field, Sting’s Fields of Gold.

You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in the fields of gold

So she took her love
For to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley
We’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in the fields of gold

See the west wind move like a lover so
Upon the fields of barley
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth
Among the fields of gold

I leave you today with this song… but my summer surprises are not finished yet. Soon the blog will be inspired by many different voices. But that’s another story, I’ll save it to another day!

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This Post Has 12 Comments
  1. I’m sure I’ll try this recipe that sounds so healthy, delicious and easy in the same time. Eggplants is one of my favorite vegetable. great shots by the way… greatings

  2. Oh, just look ing at these pictures I can already feel as if I was at the table , sampling this lovely meal. I love the vegetables you used here – aubergines are such a delicious vegetable.

  3. I would like to answer personally to thank each one of you, but I’m in a frantic moment at work – boss in the office – and the kaos is overwheling!! But thank you!! kisses

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