Sunday, September 14, 2014

Verdure gratinate (Vegetables Au Gratin)

I bought my first copy of my favorite Italian cooking magazine, Sale e Pepe during my very first trip to Italy. It was love at first sight.

Then for many years, I could only buy it in Italy or at the foreign magazine stand in Laguna Beach, California. They only received two copies a month.  I knew I was in competition with two other readers because if I didn't get to Laguna Beach in time, both copies were often sold. I later met one of my "competitors" at an Italian class and we laughed about that race to the newsstand and the disappointment when 'our' copy was gone.

I've had a hard copy subscription to "Sale e Pepe" for 4 years, thanks to  At first, it used to arrive in my mailbox two or three months after it had been published in Italy.  Sometimes it was even postmarked from Sweden.  Happily, now I receive my copy almost as quickly as it reaches the Italian magazine stands.

There is an eReader version available too, but I prefer to tear apart each magazine.  I recycle torn up copies to my Italian teacher, Michele.  He's happy to receive even a partial magazine.  He also has made a little notebook of his favorite pages.

This recipe takes some time to make.  It turned out fabulous but this is definitely a weekend project.

The recipe calls for bread crumbs.  Each trip to Italy, I purchase at least four packages of bread crumbs.  I've used the very last of my Conad bread crumbs.  They are so good, made without preservatives, added chemicals or oils.  I store them in my freezer.  Now, unfortunately, my supply has been exhausted.  They're on my "shopping list" for November's trip.

I experimented with soft bread crumbs which I made from a loaf of Trader Joe's ciabatta.  I tried making this dish again today, with stale ciabatta, but my little Cuisinart mini-prep was not strong enough to make small bread crumbs. They look more like croutons.

This eggplant dish was really scrumptious, but missing something.  I went back to look at the recipe.  They suggest serving it with halved tomatoes, also baked with the same bread crumb topping.

Here it is Sunday night and both dishes are baking. (A perfect combination!)


First batch

Second try, making both the tomatoes and the eggplant.
Unfortunately the bread was too hard to make crumbs.
Delicious but not as pretty as the first attempt!

Vegetables Au gratin 

Serves 4
3 medium fresh tomatoes
2 small eggplants
160 g bread crumbs
A handful of fresh parsley, washed and diced
60 g grated Parmigiano cheese
1 clove garlic, diced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and cut the tomatoes in half. Seed if you wish.
Wash and slice the eggplant into rounds about ½ inch in width.  Place in a ceramic dish.  Salt and cover with a heavy weight for two hours.
Drain the eggplant an thoroughly and wash it.  Dry with a paper towel and set aside
Place the tomatoes cut side up in a lightly oiled ceramic dish.  Place the eggplant slices into another lightly oiled ceramic dish.
In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs, grated cheese, parsley and garlic.  Taste test for sale and pepper. Spoon over vegetables.
Drizzle an abundant amount of olive oil over the bread crumb mixture.
Bake 350 degrees being careful not to let it burn. Test eggplant for doneness with knife.
235 cal/serving

Verdure Gratinate (Copied from Sale e Pepe)

Per 4 persone

3 pomodori medi non troppo mature

2 melanzane piccolo

160 g di pangrattato

Una manciata di prezzemolo tritato

60 g di parmigiano grattugiato

Uno spicchio d’aglio tritato

Olio extravergine d’oliva



Lavate e tagliate a meta’ i pomodori e le melanzane, svuotate I primi dai semi, salate leggermente I due ortaggi e matteteli capovolti su una teglia per un paio d’ore.

Scolate l’acqua fuoriuscita dale verdure e adagiate queste ultime in una teglia con la parte cava rivolta verso l’altro.  In una ciotola mescolate pangrattato, prezzemolo, aglio e formaggio, regulate di sale e aggiungete il pepe secondo il Vostro gusto, infine irrorate con olio abbondante.

Riempiete le verdure con il mix preparato e infornatele a 180 C per 20-30 minuti facendo attenzione a non bruciarle.

235 cal/porzione

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