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Eggplant, Tomato and Teleme Gratin



– 1 3/4 to 2 pounds eggplant (use long, slender variety, not large globe-shaped) – 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided – Salt – Pepper – 1/2 cup whole-milk Real California ricotta cheese – 1/4 cup marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade) – 2 large cloves garlic, minced – 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme – 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cored, halved through the core and thinly sliced – 1/4 pound firm, chilled Real California Teleme cheese
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Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes, plus time to set aside before serving

Preheat a broiler and arrange a rack 6 to 7 inches from the heating element.

Meanwhile, stem eggplants, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices (discard pieces that are mostly skin). Place 3 tablespoons oil in a bowl and brush 2 large rimmed baking sheets with some of it; arrange eggplant slices on the baking sheets and brush lightly with remaining oil in the bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and broil, one sheet at a time, until eggplant is cooked through and lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes per side; set cooked eggplant aside.

Reduce the oven to 375°F. Season ricotta with salt and pepper; set aside.

Spread marinara into a 2-quart baking dish. Top with half of eggplant, overlapping slices as necessary, half of garlic, one-third of thyme and half of tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with ricotta, using it all. Top ricotta with remaining eggplant, remaining garlic, half of remaining thyme and remaining tomatoes. Top with Teleme, tearing or cutting it into 10 or 12 pieces, and remaining thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake until cheese is melted and juices bubble around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes; set aside 20 minutes before serving.

Per Order:

Serves 6 to 8.