Last of Summer’s Bounty Eggplant Parmesan

We spent Labor Day Weekend with my in-laws in Anderson, California. It’s real country up there, with goats and chickens and llamas roaming in yards and fields. My mother-in-law Cleo buys her vegetables from neighbors, and sends us back to San Francisco with the best bounty of the season. This time we returned with those little purple Japanese eggplants, tomatoes and fragrant basil from her own garden. During the visit, in between making root beer floats and chocolate haystack cookies for our demanding children, she somehow managed to whip up this delicious/nutritious eggplant casserole. It’s reminiscent of eggplant parmesan but without all the oil and frying and mess. I made it as soon as I returned, with my nice vegetables from the friendly farmers. I won’t pretend that I measured anything, but these are the ingredients.

*A can of whole tomatoes can be used to supplement if you need more juice; I stick my scissors right in the can and chop away.

Coat casserole dish with olive oil. Toss eggplant with spices. Alternate layers of eggplant, tomatoes, cheese and bread crumbs, finally topping with bread crumbs and mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until cheese gets bubbly and golden brown.

Notes: It works nicely over pesto pasta.

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