The days are longer, and the air is balmy. This meal seems to surface in the spring and summer months for us, when the eggplants and squash are at their bests and the herbs can come right out of the garden. Short of picking the veggies yourself, try to find a good farmers market for the best, freshest bounty. This dish pairs so nicely with crisp white wine and a crunchy green salad with a peppery/lemony vinaigrette. Make double and you can enjoy for breakfast or another dinner. These leftovers really hold up.
Slice the zucchini thinly, the long way. Salt and lay out on paper towels for 15 minutes to drain excess water.
Slice the eggplants into rounds. Salt and lay out on paper towels for 15 minutes to drain excess water.
Prep tomatoes. Slice into thin rounds, salt a little and set in a colander to drain.
After 15 minutes transfer both eggplant and zucchini to two large cookie sheets covered in parchment paper and brush with EVOO, both sides.
Put into 350 degree oven until veggies begin to cook. Depending on your oven, may take 15 minutes
Take out and set aside.
Prep the cheese, set aside.
Chop the spinach, set aside.
Use some avocado oil to cover the bottom of a 9 X 12 roasting pan.
Begin layering the veggies, starting with the eggplant, along the bottom of the pan.
Next, sprinkle a few pinches of salt, and cracked black pepper over the eggplant.
Follow with red pepper flakes to taste and 1/3 of the dried oregano and rosemary
Layer in some cubes of cheese, evenly spread over the eggplant.
Next, cover the pan with thin strips of zucchini, trying if possible to cover the whole pan.
Next, spread the spinach across the pan.
Follow this with a layer of the tomato slices.
Now a layer of cubed cheese, spreading sparsley.
Repeat seasoning, as above.
Finish with the parmesan cheese and a bit more red pepper flakes. Drizzle olive oil over the top.
Put into 350 oven with a foil cover for 15 - 18 minutes. Check to see if it is all bubbly and the veggies are fully cooked. Then remove the foil and put back in the oven until the cheese begins to brown a little.
Remove from oven, let it rest for 12-15 minutes and slice into squares to serve.
You can add several dollops of fresh ricotta cheese on the last layer. Keep that a light touch, and just use a little, to keep this dish on the lighter side. We had ours with salmon, making this dish the 'side' dish, but you can go 'bigger' portions and serve with a crispy salad and lemony dressing! Makes great leftovers with eggs in the morning too!