Now that the weather has turned autumnal, with high temperatures around 20ºC (high 60s to low 70s), we can again use the oven (and not just the dehydrator) with impunity. Well, in fact, we haven't had enough hot weather to worry about the oven or stove heating up the house, because we keep all the doors and windows open when it's warm or even hot outside.
So I decided to use up some eggplants (a great harvest this year) and tomatoes (ditto) by making an eggplant-chicken parmesan for lunch. The first step was to lay slices of eggplant on baking sheets, brush them with olive oil, and cook them in a hot oven until they started to brown. Then I layered half the cooked eggplant slices in the bottom of an oiled gratin dish.
While the eggplant slices are cooking, cut a couple of chicken breasts into long strips and sauté them in olive oil with herbs including thyme and oregano, and with a little garlic. Dice up a juicy tomato and cook it with the chicken to add some moisture to the mixture.
Put a layer of chicken strips over the eggplant in the bottom of the baking dish and then start laying down tomatoes over all of it.
Cover the tomatoes with slices of mozzarella and some grated parmesan cheese. Then start again laying down layers of cooked eggplant, cooked chicken, and raw tomato slices...
...so that it starts looking like this. Don't forget the salt and pepper — season each layer a little as you go.
Finish with another layer of raw tomato slices and some more mozzarella...
Sprinkling on another good handful of grated parmesan cheese. Drizzle the whole thing with a little more olive oil.
Bake the gratin in a medium-high oven until it starts to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Put a lid on the dish and turn the heat down so that it becomes a kind of confit — for about half an hour at 150ºC / 300ºF.
Let it cool for 15 minutes before you take it to the table and cut into it. Happy eating.