This is an easy recipe to succeed with if you have delicious ingredients. If not, no matter what you do, it will not be good. The exact amounts are not important. You want to cut each of the vegetables (or fruit) into slices that are as equal in size as possible, so fairly large plum tomatoes and small eggplants will work with medium zucchini. Look for glossy, brightly colored, unblemished skins.
Butter, for greasing the baking dish
2 small zucchini
1 small eggplant
3 medium tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium leeks, or one medium onion, rinsed, chopped, drained and patted dry
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup dry white wine
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to the size of a ceramic baking dish. Set aside. Butter the inside of the dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Remove the ends from the zucchini and eggplant and discard. Cut each crosswise into rounds about 1/8-inch thick.
- Remove the stem ends from the tomatoes and discard. Cut each crosswise into rounds 1/8-inch thick.
- Coat a small pan with two tablespoons of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and swirl to coat. Gently add the leeks, avoiding splashing. Cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks have begun to soften and the garlic has released its fragrance, approximately two minutes.
- Carefully spread the leek-garlic mixture across the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and a few grindings of fresh black pepper; strip the leaves from one of the sprigs of thyme and sprinkle over the mixture.
- Layer the zucchini, eggplant and tomato on top of the leek-garlic mixture, alternating a slice of tomato between every eggplant and zucchini slice, overlapping slightly. If working with a square or rectangular dish, layer in rows; if working with a circular or oval dish, work in fans from the center. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and splash with the wine. Sprinkle with salt and a few grindings of fresh black pepper; strip the leaves from the remaining thyme and sprinkle over the casserole.
- Butter the cut parchment paper and carefully place, buttered side down, on top of the vegetables.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not mushy while the edges are nicely crisp and brown.