Parmigiana di melanzane or aubergine/eggplant gratin
I have a winter version of this, using store bought passata but this is a summer version with lots of fresh tomatoes instead. If you're not into slow cooking, this might not be your thing.
Yesterday I started with cutting slices of the aubergines, salt them and let the bitter moist drip out (around one hour), then rinsed the salt off and pan-fried them in plenty rapeseed oil at high temperature. It takes quite a while to do this. The slices have to be cooked really well, underdone aubergines are truly disgusting to eat! I left them in the fridge overnight with a sprinkle of fleur de sel on top.
Today I made a sauce with a load of fresh tomatoes, a celery stalk, a red bell pepper for extra color and taste, onion, dried oregano, lots of garlic and a deseeded chilli pepper and let it simmer for an hour, then added a bunch of fresh herbs from the garden (mainly basil). Let simmer for another 10 minutes and mix finely, then sieve.
Building the gratin is easy; start with a layer of aubergines, add a generous tbsp. of tomato sauce and a sprinkle of cheese; I used grated provolone instead of parmesan. That's one layer. Build more layers like that. Cut a ball of mozzarella in slices and put on top, add some more tomato sauce and another sprinkle of provolone or parmesan. Put in the oven at 180°C/350°F for a good 30 minutes.
As you can see, I used a lot of sauce, so divine mopped up with a piece of good bread!