• salt and pepper to taste
  • Over 1 pound potatoes
  • 2 large peppers, or equivalent
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin
  • 2 large onions, peeled and cut into eighths, or 16 very small onions
  • 1 pound eggplant
  • 2 or 3 large meaty red tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  1. Preheat broiler.  Bring 6 cups water to a boil and add 1 tsp salt.  Slice the potatoes lengthwise about 1/2 inch thick, boil them for 5 minutes and drain.  Halve the peppers lengthwise, press to flatten them, then bush with vegetable oil.  Broil, cute side down, on a biking sheet until blistered but not charred.  Stack them on top of one another and set aside to steam.  When cool, remove the skins and cut the pieces in half.  Set the oven temperature at 350 F.
  2. Coarsely chop the basil, cilantro and garlic, then puree in a small food processor with olive oil, cumin and 1/2 tsp salt.
  3. Toss all the vegetables with 1 tsp salt, some fresh pepper and the herb mixture.  Using your hands, rub the herb mixture into the vegetables, especially the eggplant, then add the chickpeas and toss once more.  Transfer everything to a gratin dish.  Rinse out the herb container with 1/2 cup water and pour it over all.  Cover the gratin dish tightly with foil and bake until tender, about 90 minutes.  Remove the foil, brush the exposed vegetables with the juices, and bake for 20 minutes more.  Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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