A Fricassée is a southern French dish, halfway between a sauté and a stew, typically prepared with chicken or meat. Here, I do away with either and just have eggplant take center stage for a hearty vegan dish! It is a cinch to throw together –all you need is time for it to bake in the oven for an hour, but ahhhh it is so worth it! I love to serve it piping hot out of the oven over cooked farro or black rice but you can also make it ahead and serve it at room temperature over a bed of mixed green for an elegant lunch. Your guests will rave about it: It’s spectacular!
- 3 medium eggplants unpeeled, rinsed
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes
- 2 sweet onions thickly sliced
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1 /2 tsp dry thyme or fresh thyme to taste
- 1 tsp dry rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven 350 F
- Sautee the onions in the olive oil until just soft (about 10 minutes) but not fully cooked (they will continue to cook in the oven) and set aside.
- Cut the eggplants into thick slices (about 1 inch) and the tomatoes into quarters and place them together in a large bowl.
- Add the warm onions (with the oil they are cooked in), the spices, bay leaves, salt and pepper to the bowl and mix gently to coat all the ingredients (see the little video clip below).
- Transfer to a large baking dish in one layer as best you can, and place in preheated oven.
- Bake for an hour (or more depending on your own oven, but make sure they are to the point of being almost caramelized, like the photo), stirring gently twice throughout, to make sure all the juices cover the eggplants.
- Serve with fresh sprigs of thyme.