Marks Daily Apple
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23 Aug

Tomato and Eggplant Gratin

Gratin1If you want a beautiful side dish to set on the table, this tomato and eggplant gratin is it. Especially when made with colorful heirloom tomatoes. It tastes rich and decadent but is actually quite healthy when you take into account the antioxidants from the tomatoes and eggplant, potential health benefits of full fat dairy and protein from eggs.

Did you know that eggplant has high levels potent antioxidants? And as most people know, so do tomatoes. Healthwise and flavorwise they make a good team. But enough about all the healthy stuff. Plain and simple, this tomato and eggplant gratin is delicious. Really, delicious. Make it in the summer with perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes or make it in the winter and serve it as a holiday side dish.

Servings: 6

Time in the Kitchen: 2 hours

Ingredients:

ingredients 43
  • 2 eggplants, peeled (optional) and sliced into rounds 1/4-inch thick (6 mm)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) plus 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, thinly sliced (900 g)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (120 ml)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream (240 ml)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (60 ml)

Instructions:

Preheat an oven to 375 °F/190 °C.

In a large bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons (30 ml) salt in 1 cup (240 ml) warm water. Once the salt is dissolved, put the eggplant slices in the salt water. Add enough cool water to cover the eggplant, 4 to 6 cups. (950 ml to 1420 ml) .Set a plate that is slightly smaller than the top of the bowl on the eggplant pieces to keep them submerged in the water. Let sit for 30 minutes. (Brining eggplant removes bitterness and keeps the texture from turning dry and leathery when roasted or grilled.)

While the eggplant is soaking, place the tomato slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (to prevent sticking) and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes. The tomatoes should release most of their moisture and become soft and shriveled. Take the tomatoes out, let cool, and set aside.

Step1 26

Drain the eggplant and pat thoroughly dry.

Lay the eggplant slices out evenly on baking sheets and lightly brush with olive oil on both sides. You’ll probably use around 1/2 cup of olive oil to do this. Roast until the eggplant is soft, 30 minutes.

Step2 26

In a large oval (or 9×13 cake pan) layer the eggplant and tomato.

Step3 14

Whisk together eggs, cream, parsley and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Pour the custard on top of the tomato and eggplant.

Step4 4

Bake 30 to 35 minutes until the custard is set and lightly browned.

Gratin2

You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. This looks delicious, a great holiday or special occasion dish. I often use cubed eggplant instead of rice when making stuffed peppers or stuffed cabbage. It makes for a lighter, less dense filling. For those who are sensitive, keep in mind that tomatoes and eggplants are both members of the nightshade family.

    Shary wrote on August 23rd, 2014
  2. Do you brine the eggplant that you use in your stuffed peppers?

    Tommy wrote on August 23rd, 2014
    • Nope, I just peel it, cut it into relatively small dice, and throw it in with the rest of the ingredients. It softens and soaks up the sauce during the cooking process. I’ve never tried brining it first. Seems to me it would make the dish too salty.

      Shary wrote on August 24th, 2014
  3. That. Looks. Fabulous!
    I may be early in thinking about this, but I know one dish that’s showing up on my thanksgiving table!
    And I’ll be ready for the compliments. ;-)

    Beth wrote on August 23rd, 2014
  4. That looks really delicious!
    I’ve never, ever seen anyone peel an eggplant though, why would you even do that? Doesn’t make any sense to me at all, like peeling a bell pepper or something. Isn’t most of the healthy stuff in the skin, too?

    Linda wrote on August 23rd, 2014
    • Well,

      I actually sometimes do peel my bell peppers. It is a requirement for many italian grilled pepper recipes..

      And you would always peel your eggplants for many middle-eastern grilled eggplant recipes too, such as the many varieties of baba ganoush (but that’s mainly inspired because the grilling renders the skin tough and hardly edible)

      David wrote on August 28th, 2014
      • Well, yes, sure, but I wouldn’t call that “peeling”. I’d call that “removing the skin because it is charred/has become inedible”. ;)

        Linda wrote on August 28th, 2014
  5. mmm mmm and mmm! For a few years I have grown eggplant in a small container – I found a small variety that is so easy and it has a beautiful flower! anyhow, I always just chopped it up and put it into soup – especially because nobody else likes eggplant around the house.

    However, maybe we will all like it more if cooked properly and with a good recipe – and so thanks recipe and for this tip:
    “Brining eggplant removes bitterness and keeps the texture from turning dry and leathery when roasted or grilled”

    healthywings wrote on August 23rd, 2014
  6. Looks really delicious with a perfect combo of flavors. Will be trying it soon.

    Michele wrote on August 23rd, 2014
  7. I always knew to salt the eggplant but didn’t think to soak it in a brine. I have to try this recipe soon. My family doesn’t like eggplant but I will try this recipe and see if it changes their minds.

    Eire0528 wrote on August 23rd, 2014
  8. This looks amazing! Any non-diary substitute suggestion for the cream?

    Cathy wrote on August 23rd, 2014
    • Coconut cream perhaps?

      As an eggplant connoisseur I love this dish idea. And why bother with peeling the skin? Not only you save time, you end up with slices that don’t fall apart during the cooking.

      When selecting an eggplant, pick one that is very light weight, with glossy color and tight skin. I’ve also read somewhere, that an eggplant with a round indentation at it’s bottom is a “male” (less seeds due to incomplete pollination), while one with a linear indentation is a “female”; but I haven’t tested this theory yet. And it must be organic.

      For grilling whole, frying or cooking, the segmented verity in the link below is my favorite, due to it’s flavor, snow white meat and lack of seeds (9/10).

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggplant#mediaviewer/File:Segmented_aubergine_Thailand.jpg

      Time Traveler wrote on August 24th, 2014
    • Coconut milk or coconut cream usually works as a substitute for dairy milk cream.

      jake3_14 wrote on August 24th, 2014
  9. This looks amazing! I’m making it tomorrow. We have plenty of tomatoes and eggplant from the garden and this sounds perfect.

    Deb G wrote on August 23rd, 2014
  10. A variation of this would be squash, zucchini, and eggplant gratin. While you’re in the garden or at the farmer’s market, grab some fresh basil and garlic. Chop a few leaves of the basil and a pod of garlic and add to the mixture before popping in the oven for final cooking. And for a little extra decadence…before serving, top with a good grated Parmigiano cheese or (for you other Kerrygold fans out there) the Dubliner. Mmmmmm-good!

    Bisha wrote on August 23rd, 2014
  11. Do we need to roast tomato and eggplant first ? Can we just cook em all together like a frittata ?

    Jo wrote on August 23rd, 2014
    • You probably could, but you would have a lot of moisture in the dish, plus a different flavor profile without the roasting. One of the things that the roasting does is get rid of a lot of the moisture in the eggplant and the tomatoes in addition to giving them a nice roasted flavor. You would probably need to add something to help absorb some of the liquid, but I’m not sure what that would be.

      Robin wrote on August 24th, 2014
  12. Looks wonderful. This will be perfect as Fall weather returns here in the MidWest!!

    Joanne wrote on August 23rd, 2014
  13. This looks delicious! Cant wait to try it with our fresh summer tomatoes!

    Livi wrote on August 24th, 2014
  14. I’ve been under the impression that you don’t use olive oil for high-heat cooking, e.g., baking. Am I mistaken?

    jake3_14 wrote on August 24th, 2014
    • That’s correct. Olive oil has many health benefits but if it’s heated too the point where it burns you might alter the properties so it becomes carcinogenic. Kinda like charcoaling a steak or a piece of toast.

      Olivia wrote on August 24th, 2014
    • Olive oil oxidizes and creates free radicals at high heat. This occurs when the oil is heated to its smoke point (where it begins to burn), which for olive oil is between 375 and 460 depending on the grade (extra virgin is lowest, light and pomace are highest). Typically, when food is baked, the food temperature is significantly lower than the air temp in the oven, so baking is not considered a high heat form of cooking. High heat usually refers to direct heat methods such as saute and grilling where the oil would be in direct or close contact to open flames and temperatures far in excess of their smoke point.

      Isaac M wrote on August 29th, 2014
  15. Hum … good presentation ! I love tomatoes it is very beneficial to our intestinal transit ;-)

    Commentguerir wrote on August 24th, 2014
  16. One moment my post was awaiting moderation and the next is disappeared from the site; what gives?

    Time Traveler wrote on August 24th, 2014
  17. looks yummy & easy to make

    pam wrote on August 24th, 2014
  18. Made this today as I’m not keen on Aubergines and wanted try to eat more of them.
    It was beautiful and even better when cold.
    It will definitely be a lunch box regular.
    Thanks so much for the recipe.

    Scuba wrote on August 26th, 2014
  19. I’m not a big eggplant eater, but this sounded good. I made it tonight and it was scrumptious. Definitely something I’ll keep making. Thanks.

    Susan B. wrote on August 28th, 2014
  20. I have never before left a recipe review, but this Eggplant and Tomato Gratin is really fabulous and I felt compelled to tell others about it. I often make a totally different Eggplant and Tomoto Gratin recipe with non-gluten breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, and so I wasn’t too motivated to try this one because I was happy with what I’d been making. But my husband sent me the recipe and so I decided to give it a try anyway. So glad I did! This is absolutely delicious food. Don’t be daunted when you take it out of the oven: the egg has set around the sides and though out, but the heavy cream will leave a somewhat “soupy” consistency. No matter. I guess I was expecting a more ‘firm’ effect. But as it turns out, the heavy creaminess of the dish is exactly what makes it so darn good. Enjoy!

    Rachel Alexander wrote on August 29th, 2014
  21. I made this tonight and it is delicious!

    Penny wrote on August 29th, 2014
  22. Followed the recipe exactly, and it came out wonderful. Plan on eating leftovers for breakfast with some home cured bacon. We are going to try adding basil and some mozzarella cheese for a variation. In the winter we will try some Roma tomatoes instead of heirlooms from summer. The peeled, brined and roasted eggplant was surprisingly good. Always looking for a veggie dish to expand our horizons.

    Brian wrote on September 2nd, 2014
  23. I’m new to the primal world, this being my second week – I made this dish last night, and I’m already planning to make it again! So good – peoples eyes light up when they taste it!!
    Love it

    Kerry wrote on September 4th, 2014
  24. I made this last night with a few modifications. I added a layer of cooked chorizo with extra garlic and a layer of mozzarella to top it off, FANTASTIC!!

    Jeff wrote on September 16th, 2014

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