Baked Eggplant with Onion and Fresh Tomatoes
1 pound low-moisture mozzarella, cubed
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon peperoncino flakes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
l large onion, sliced into thin rounds
6 plump garlic cloves, crushed
Bread Crumb Topping:
2 pinchs Kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, shredded (for serving- optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Trim stem end of tomatoes and cut in half crosswise. Squeeze the halves over a strainer set in a bowl, scraping out and catching the seeds in the strainer and collecting the tomato juices in the bowl. Cut the tomatoes into 1/2 inch chunks, put them all in a bowl and toss with the cubes of cheese, chopped basil, peperoncino, the remaining 1 tsp. salt and 4 Tbsp. of the olive oil.
Brush the bottom and sides of the baking dish with about 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Lay the onion rounds in the bottom in one layer, scatter the garlic cloves over the onions, then layer the eggplant slices in an even layer, overlapping if necessary. Scatter the tomato and cheese evenly on top of the eggplant, and drizzle the collected tomato juices over all.
Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.