There’s a narrow window at the end of summer when I still have a counter full of eggplants and tomatoes but the weather is cool enough to consider turning the oven to 400 degrees. This weekend was right in the middle of that window. This recipe was inspired by Alice Water’s recipe for Eggplant, Tomato, and Onion Gratin from Chez Panisse Vegetables and a recipe for Zucchini Rice Gratin from Smitten Kitchen. I can imagine all kinds of variations depending on the kind of summer abundance you have resting on your kitchen counter- zucchini, summer squash, roasted peppers... Enjoy.

Eggplant and Tomato Rice Gratin (Serves 6)

  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup long grain brown rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 medium eggplants, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, sliced generous ¼ inch thick
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, divided

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sauté the onions, garlic and salt and pepper in olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, until soft and translucent.

Add rice,  1 ½  scant cups of water and onion and garlic mixture to a pot and cook until all liquid is absorbed, approximately ½ hour.

While the rice is cooking, cut the eggplants into 1/4-inch thick slices. Cut the tomatoes into slightly thicker slices.

Oil a 2 quart baking dish (I just used the skillet I cooked the onions in but use whatever you have on hand).

Mix cooked and cooled rice mixture with two beaten eggs and with ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Cover the bottom of the gratin dish with the rice mixture. Cover with alternating rows of overlapping tomato and eggplant rounds. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and cook in the oven until the eggplant is soft, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil for the few minutes and brown under broiler.