off the top and bottom of each eggplant. Slice
1/2" thick and lay a single layer of slices
on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with
salt (about 1/4 teaspoon per slice), then turn
and salt the other side. Repeat with he remaining
eggplant, putting a sheet of wax paper between
each layer. Rest another baking sheet on the
very top and weigh it down with full cans or
anything heavy. Set aside to drain for 2 - 4
hours. Rinse under running water and drain on
a large deep skillet heat 2 inches of the olive
oil until very hot but not smoking. Spread the
flour out on a plate. Working in batches to
avoid crowding the pan, dredge the eggplant
slices on both sides in flour. Shake off any
excess and immediately slip into the oil. Cook
until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper
the oven to 350º. Arrange the eggplant
slices in overlapping rows in a baking dish.
In order, add the tomato sauce, herbs, cheese,
cream and white pepper, distributing them evenly
over the eggplant. Cover and bake until the
cheese is browned and the eggplant is soft,
about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Uncover the dish
for the last 15 minutes of cooking. The gratin
can be made up to a day in advance and reheated
in a 325º oven before serving.
When deep frying, always bring the ingredients
to be fried to room temperature beforehand.
Cold ingredients will lower the oil temperature,
giving soggy results.
6 - 8