This eggplant and zucchini gratin recipe from Julia Child is a true classic. It makes a great side dish or can be served as the main meal. The dish is colorful and is great for entertaining or bringing to an event when you are asked to contribute. It is also fairly easy, which can be a pleasant change of pace for fans of Julia Child recipes.
Eggplant dishes are usually heartier than other vegetable based recipes. Eggplant is a common substitute for meat dishes and adds some bulk to this gratin. Like zucchini, it has a distinctive taste that many consider less bland than many vegetables. It also pairs well with many seasonings. The vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients, but the dish still seems indulgent. It is a favorite of vegetarians and vegans, but also pleases meat eaters as a side dish. Of all the eggplant dishes out there, this is one of the most interesting and elevates simple ingredients to something special.
This tasty dish is made even better with a sprinkle of Herbs de Provence or a similar spice mix. It provides a distinctly French flair without creating a traditionally French dish, filled with heavy sauces or creams.
Eggplant and Zucchini Gratin by Julia Child
1/2 cup or so olive oil 1 large or 2 medium eggplants 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence 1 teaspoon salt 2 medium zucchini, about 1 pound total 3 or 4 ripe tomatoes, about 1 pound total 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For bread-crumb topping: 1/2 cup or so fresh bread crumbs, not too finely ground 1/3 cup or so freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For herbs de Provence substitute the following mixture:
2 tsp each dried thyme 1/2 tsp savory 1/4 tsp dried rosemary and 1/4 tsp mint 1/8 tsp fennel seeds 1/8 tsp dried sage