(4 to 6 portions)

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 eggplant, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and cut into strips
  • 2 large courgettes, sliced
  • 3 large tomatoes, sliced
  • sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan, grated
  • salt and pepper

Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and fry onions, garlic, eggplant and peppers until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread the mixture in the bottom of a shallow ovenproof dish. Fry courgette slices for about 1 minute on each side in the same oil - just until it softens. Arrange a row of tomato slices on top of the vegetable mixture in the dish. Each tomato slice should overlap slightly with the previous one. Arrange a row of courgette slices next to the tomato, followed by another row of tomato and then courgette. Repeat until the vegetable mixture is entirely covered. Season with salt and pepper and top with thyme and rosemary. Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 190 °C until golden brown. Remove dish from oven. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and cheese on top. Baste with a trickle of olive oil if the top vegetables seem a bit dry. Bake for another 10 minutes until the crumbs are crisp and golden brown. Eat immediately, in an hour, or even the next day as picnic food. This is one of those marvellous dishes that stay delicious - piping hot, lukewarm or cold.