My lightened up approach to potato au gratin subs in eggplant, zucchini, pesto and lots of cheese! This is one of those dishes that anyone can make. All you have to do is slice, layer and bake. Easy!
Included in the recipe is a homemade pesto, but store-bought is fine too. If you're serving a traditional lamb, a mint pesto will work well. In this case, I went the basil route because we typically have ham or a roast for Easter.
I love breaking out my beat-up, eggshell blue, French inspired pan. This particular pan has never been anywhere near France, but it looks like I could have purchased it there. So, if you have an old pan or baking dish that you love, show it off. And let someone else cook the potatoes. This is much easier!
1 bunch fresh basil, stems removed
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
To make the pesto, puree all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
1 cup pesto, homemade or store-bought
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
2 zucchini, sliced
Place the eggplant on a plate and sprinkle generously with salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, then rinse with cold water.
Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. Evenly spread a quarter of the pesto into a baking dish. Place the eggplant slices over the pesto layer. In a bowl, toss together the lemon zest, cheese and pepper. Sprinkle a third of the cheese mixture over the eggplant. Layer with the zucchini slices. Cover with the remaining lemon, cheese and pepper. Spoon the remaining pesto along any open spaces between the zucchini slices. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until bubbling and golden. Turn the broiler on high and cook for 1 minute to finish it off.
Yield: 12-18 servings