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Provençal Vegetable Gratin

This Thanksgiving, are you looking for a side dish that will impress but its prep is straightforward and has a delicious finish? You have found it here! This dish originally caught my eye when I was looking for regional recipes after a late summer trip to Provence, France. Food in Provence is simple, fresh and delicious. Provençal Vegetable Gratin represents the region and its flavor well. Enjoy!

This recipe was inspired by Saveur.

Provencal Vegetable Gratin (serves 6-8 sides)

6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more

2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme

¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound medium zucchini, cut ¼-inch-thick slices

1 ½ pounds small, firm eggplant, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

1 ½ pounds plum tomatoes, cut into ¼ -inch-thick slices

Basil leaves, to garnish

Put oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, red pepper, and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Heat oven to 400°. Spread the cooked onion mixture in the bottom of a large heavy baking dish, about 9 x 13 inches. Arrange the zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes in alternating rows: start by making alternating rows of overlapping zucchini slices. Follow with a row of eggplant, then a row of tomatoes, packing the rows tightly together. Continue until the baking dish is filled. Sprinkle the surface of the vegetables generously with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°and continue baking for 45 minutes to and hour, or until the vegetables are very tender. Cool dish to room temperature to allow flavors to meld – this dish tastes even better at room temperature. To serve, garnish with torn basil leaves. Enjoy!

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