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Cheesy Eggplant, Potato And Fennel Bake

2 medium eggplant, cubed
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced, leaves reserved for garnish
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded

Place cubed eggplant in colander. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let rest 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Warm oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Sauté fennel 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Set aside.
Combine drained eggplant and diced potatoes in prepared casserole dish. Top with sautéed fennel and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
Cover casserole with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5-7 minutes until vegetables are tender and cheese is melted. Garnish with fennel leaves, if desired.