Garlic lovers can never get enough of a good thing. And although this eggplant recipe calls for garlic in three forms--fresh, powdered and garlic salt--the result isn't overkill but a pleasant blend of flavors. That's why the recipe made it to the finals of the Great Garlic Cookoff at the 1986 Gilroy Garlic Festival. Submitted by Roxanne E. Chan of Albany, Calif., Epicurean Eggplant Bake narrowly missed first place. Chan, who grows her own vegetables, fruits and herbs, came up with the recipe while experimenting in the kitchen. She added yellow and green peppers, tomato and onion to the Italian-sausage mixture that tops the eggplant slices, then surrounded the eggplant with a sauce made from sweet red peppers. The unusual garlic meringue reflects the lightness of the dish. Accompaniments can be as simple as hot French bread and a green salad with oil and vinegar dressing. Or continue the garlic theme with a side dish of pasta tossed with butter and oil in which garlic has been sauteed.
EPICUREAN EGGPLANT BAKE 6 large eggplant slices, 1/2-inch thick2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon garlic powderItalian-Sausage FillingGarlic MeringueRed-Pepper CreamItalian-parsley sprigs Brush eggplant slices on both sides with oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top each slice with some of Sausage Filling, then cover with Garlic Meringue. Bake until meringue is golden. Place on large serving platter. Surround with Red-Pepper Cream and garnish with parsley sprigs. Makes 6 servings.