4 cups small dice eggplant, lightly salted to release excess water and bitterness
2 cups diced red pepper
2 cups diced yellow pepper
1/2 cup diced apple-wood smoked bacon
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons basil cut into fine strips
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fried Eggplant, recipe below
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place 1/2-teaspoon extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan and add garlic cloves and bacon. Cook until bacon is slightly crisp. Blot the salted eggplant with paper towels to dry slightly. Discard 1/2 of the fat and add the eggplant. Cook until tender, season with fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. Drain and remove garlic.
In 2 separate saute pans add the remaining extra virgin olive oil and gently saute the red and yellow peppers until tender. Season with salt, pepper, and basil. Drain.
Form the tians by placing a layer of eggplant in a ring mold and packing it down gently. Next, add a layer of red peppers, then eggplant, finishing up with yellow peppers. Pack everything down gently.
Place in oven to warm. Unmold on a platter and serve with fried eggplant.
1 Japanese eggplant Salt, to purge the eggplant
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Slice the neck of a Japanese eggplant thin on an electric slicer. It should be the thickness of a potato chip. Lay the slices out flat and sprinkle with salt and let stand for three hours.
Preheat a fryer to 300 degrees F. Blot eggplant slices dry with paper towels. Dip the slices in buttermilk, then in seasoned flour, and fry until crisp. Drain.