Photo: Mikkel Vang
Layered Eggplant and Polenta Casserole
Look for precooked polenta logs in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. If using fresh plum tomatoes, peel them by scoring an X in the bottom with a paring knife and plunging them into boiling water for several seconds; transfer to an ice bath, and let cool. Slip off and discard peels and seeds.
Martha Stewart Living, September
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds fresh or canned plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/4 pounds medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 (16-ounce) log precooked polenta, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees; with rack in upper third. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in vinegar, oregano, and basil; season with pepper. Remove sauce from heat.
- Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Lightly brush eggplant slices with the remaining tablespoon oil. Working in batches, lay slices in skillet in a single layer; cook until browned and they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- Spoon about 1/2 cup tomato sauce into a 9-inch square baking dish, spreading to coat evenly. Arrange eggplant slices snugly in a single layer. Spoon about 1 cup tomato sauce over eggplant, and arrange polenta rounds in slightly overlapping slices on top. Repeat with sauce and another layer of eggplant. Finish by dotting with remaining tomato sauce.
- Cover with foil; bake until bubbling and juicy, about 30 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking until sauce is lightly caramelized and eggplant is tender, about 15 minutes more. Remove from oven; let cool slightly, and serve.
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