Eggplant, Tomato, and Zucchini Gratin

1 Rosa Bianca or other oval or globe-shaped eggplant (1lb or larger)
sea salt
3 T olive oil, plus more for the dish
1 lg onion, sliced crosswise
3 plump cloves garlic, smashed with a knife
5 tomatoes (about 1lb) peeled and quartered
3 T chopped parsley
2 t chopped oregano, or 1 t dried oregano
freshly ground pepper
3-4 smallish zucchini (about 12 oz), sliced on the diagonal about 1/3 inch thick
2 t tomato paste

Finishing touches:

1 lg clove garlic
sea salt
2 T chopped basil
2 t chopped oregano, or a scant tsp dried
2 T olive oil
4 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 c fresh bread crumbs

Quarter the eggplant lengthwise, then cut each quarter crosswise into slice about 1/3 inch thick. Unless the eggplant is very fresh, salt the slices lightly and set aside while you prepare the other vegetables, then blot dry.

Heat the oven to 375. Lightly oil an 8x10" or 10" oval gratin dish.

Heat the oil in a wide skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, parsley, and oregano and seaon with salt and pepper. Cover the pan, turn the heat to high, and when the vegetables begin to sizzle, turn the heat to low. Lay the zucchini over the top of the vegetables, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. By this time, the vegetables should be soft. Using a slotted spoon, turn them into the prepared gratin dish. Stir the tomato paste into the liquid remaining in the skillet, then pour hte liquid over the vegetables.

To finish the gratin, pound the garlic with a few pinches of salt in a mortar until smooth. Add the basil, oregano, and oil and work together, forming a paste. Spoon the paste over the vegetables and then intersperse the cheese among them. Cover the surface with the bread crumbs.

Bake until the bread crumbs have browned and the vegetables are hot and bubbling, about 35 minutes. let the gratin settle for 10-15 min before serving.

(From Deborah Madison's book Vegetable Literacy)