Just got back from a trip and went to my folks' house for a glass of wine and dinner. Wonderful to be spoiled after a day spent caroming around airports.
My folks made one of my favorites. Here's the recipe:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Make a simple tomato sauce: Over medium low heat, saute a chopped shallot in 2 tbsp. of olive oil. When translucent, add two cloves of minced garlic, stir about 1 minute, but don't allow the garlic to get dark. Add one 28-oz. can of diced tomatoes (or chop about 3 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes). Simmer five minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add a handful of coarsely chopped basil, stir and remove from heat.
Grate 1/2 lb. of mozarella. If you use whole milk mozarella, the melted cheese will be stringier, which I happen to like. If you are a cheese hound like me, you may consider increasing the amount of mozarella to 3/4 or even 1 lb. It's up to you.
Grate enough Reggiano parmesan to make 1 cup.
Make or buy 1/4 cup of unflavored bread crumbs.
Slice two large eggplants into 1/2 inch slices. Heat a smooth griddle or large flat frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush the slices of eggplant with some olive oil, and place on hot griddle. While side 1 is browning, brush oil on the up side. When brown, flip the eggplant slices, brown the other side, and salt lightly. Repeat until all the eggplant is cooked.
Coat a shallow casserole dish with olive oil. It should be big enough to hold all the eggplant in about two layers. Scatter the bread crumbs over the bottom of the dish. This will thicken the tomato sauce while the dish bakes.
Place a layer of eggplant over the crumbs, and cover with tomato sauce (about 1 cup). Cover with 1/2 of the mozarella, then 1/2 of the parmesan.
Repeat another layer of eggplant, sauce, mozarella and parmesan. Drizzle about 1 tbsp. of olive oil over the cheese layer (optional).
Bake about 30 minutes, or until the cheese on top is a golden brown.
Serve with salad and crusty bread. That's how we had it, and it can't be beat.
[Image from Plants and People-fruit lab]