2 large eggplants, cut into ½” round
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 stalk celery, cut into 1” pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into ½” rounds
1 each red and yellow bell pepper, cut into 1”pieces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Preheat the pan over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds. Add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spread evenly. Once the oil starts to smoke from the entire surface of the pan, add eggplants into the pan. Sear for about 1 minute, allowing the eggplants to soak up oil.
Once browned, flip eggplants over. Add in 1 more tablespoon of oil and sear for 1 more minute. Remove eggplants from the pan. Set aside.
In the same pan, add in 2 more tablespoons of oil and spread evenly. Add in garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add in onion, celery, zucchini, bell peppers, and salt. Sauté for about 1 minute, stirring to evenly coat vegetables with oil.
Add the eggplants back into the pan. Add in tomatoes and lightly stir. Place bay leaf and thyme in the pan, cover with lid and turn down to low heat. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes to let the flavors develop over residual heat.
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