It was Tomato Fest at area farmers markets this past Saturday, which meant that every stall had bowls of fresh tomatoes set out for sampling. From cherry tomatoes to thick slicing tomatoes to my favorite, the sweet-tart green zebra-striped ‘maters, it was snacking heaven. Our garden tomatoes haven’t ripened yet, so of course we had to buy plenty.
Fresh eggplant also on hand and basil from the garden inspired the above dish of summery eggplant parmesan. I usually consider eggplant parmesan to be a heavy dish, but it can be lightened considerably by eliminating the eggy breading that typically coat the eggplant slices before frying.
My husband made the tomato sauce from roma tomatoes, but you can use this recipe to make your own sauce. Cook the tomatoes down until they are very thick and smooth. You don’t even have to puree this sauce, although putting it through the food mill does get rid of the skins.
I lightly sauteed thin eggplant slices in a little olive oil first so that they would be tender in the casserole. In a baking dish, layer the tomato sauce, sauteed eggplant slices, sliced fresh mozzarella (the kind packed in water), slivered basil leaves and grated Parmesan. Add another layer of everything, starting with sauce and finishing with even more sauce and a generous covering of Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly, 20-30 minutes. Delicioso!