Gluten Free Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini Parmigiana
This grilled version is just as good, if not better than the fried one
Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil followed by the onions. Sweat the onions for 5 minutes then add the garlic and basil. Stir the pot a bit and cook for another few minutes before adding the fresh tomatoes only. When the fresh tomatoes are very soft you may add the crushed tomatoes and reduce to a simmer. This should bubble for at least 45 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick just add a bit of water and stir.
While your pomodoro sauce is simmering, lay out your eggplant and zucchini slices on a sheet tray. Season with salt and pepper. Fire up your grill or cast iron pan. If using a grill, drizzle olive oil on the vegetables before placing them on the hot surface. If cast iron is in play – add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan before searing. Grill the veggies for 3-4 minutes on both sides and lay flat on a sheet tray to cool down a bit.
Break out your best baking dish, preferably ceramic or glass 8×8 or 13×9 depending on how thick you like your eggplant parmigiana. (I used a ceramic 13×9 from Le Creuset). At this point your pomodoro sauce should be ready so ladle about 4 ounces of sauce onto the bottom of the pan. Start your first layer with eggplant. Simply place 4 -5 slices around without overlapping. Sprinkle a tad more salt and spoon a light layer of sauce. Spread it evenly on top of the eggplant. Add one slice of mozzarella to each piece of eggplant followed by torn basil leaves and a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano. Repeat this step with zucchini for the next layer.
You should have 4 layers in this order: eggplant, zucchini, eggplant, zucchini. Each layer with sauce, mozzarella, basil and parmigiano. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. The top layer of cheese should be golden brown.
I like to wait 30 minutes before I cut into it. This allows everything to settle and makes for a less messy slice. I enjoy pairing this dish with a simple Arugula salad with olive oil, a splash lemon and some of the leftover cheeses.