- 1 medium eggplant
- 2 medium red onions
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed, peeled if desired
- 1 1/2 pounds zucchini
- 2 large bell peppers, seeded
- 1/3 to 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- 2 pounds tomatoes, grated or peeled, seeded and chopped, or a 28-ounce can, drained
- Black pepper
- 1/2 to 1 pound small okra, ends trimmed, optional
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped marjoram or oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried
1. If the eggplant is thin and long, slice it about 1/4-inch thick. If it’s fat, halve it lengthwise, then slice in 1/4-inch-thick half-moons. Sprinkle with salt and put on paper towels for 30 minutes. Thinly slice the onions and mince the garlic. Cut the potatoes, zucchini and peppers into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Squeeze excess water from eggplant and pat dry.
2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the onions. Stir often, until tender and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and stir in the garlic. Cook for another minute or two, until fragrant.
3. Lightly oil a deep earthenware baking dish or a heavy Dutch oven. Put the tomatoes in a bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining olive oil. Spread a thin layer of tomatoes in the baking dish or Dutch oven and top with one-third of the onions and garlic. Top with half the potato slices. Season with salt and pepper. Layer half the zucchini slices over the potatoes and season, then layer on half the eggplant, half the peppers and half the okra, if using. Sprinkle on half the parsley, about a third of the marjoram or oregano and some pepper. Layer another third of the onions over the vegetables and top with half of the remaining tomatoes. Sprinkle with half the remaining marjoram or oregano. Repeat the layers with the remaining vegetables, ending with a layer of onions topped with the remaining tomatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs. Pour the juice from the tomatoes over the mixture.
4. Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Press the vegetables down into the juice and bake another 30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are thoroughly tender. Cool until warm before serving, or refrigerate overnight and reheat. If there is too much liquid, strain in a colander set over a bowl, reduce the juices over medium-high heat (place a flame tamer over the burner if you’re using the earthenware dish) and pour over the vegetables.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
New York Times