Eggplant with cheese and walnuts

    Serves 8

    • 2½ lbs. firm eggplant
    • salt
    • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, sliced
    • ½ cup olive oil
    • 2 red onions, peeled, halved, and sliced
    • 3 cups peeled plum tomatoes (with all their juice)
    • ⅓ cup dry white wine
    • fresh-ground black pepper
    • 1⅓ cup walnut pieces
    • ½ lb. Fontina cheese
    • ¼ lb. mozzarella cheese

    1. Trim off the stem ends and slice the eggplants lengthwise, ½ inch thick. Salt the slices liberally on both sides and put them aside for about ½ hour to drain.
    2. In a large skillet, sauté the garlic in the olive oil for several minutes, then remove and discard the garlic. Rinse the eggplant slices and press out the excess moisture between the palms of your hands. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with the olive oil, and broil them for several minutes on each side until they show dark spots.
    3. When all the slices have been broiled, add to the remaining oil the sliced onions and stir over high heat until they are limp and beginning to brown. Cut the plum tomatoes in very thick slices and add them, with all their juice, to the onions. Stir in the wine. Cook for several minutes over high heat, stirring often, and add about ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste.
    4. Pour the tomato sauce into a large, shallow casserole. Arrange the broiled eggplant slices over it in one even, overlapping layer. Sprinkle the slices with a little salt and pepper, then spread the walnut pieces evenly over the eggplant.
    5. Cut the Fontina cheese in slices or strips and arrange it evenly over the walnuts. Grate the mozzarella and sprinkle it over the Fontina.
    6. Bake the casserole in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. It should be bubbling hot, and the cheeses should be melted and beginning to brown. Serve immediately.