Recipe Review: As much as this was tasty and high yield, I don't think I'll make it again. Why? You can only get small eggplants here, so 1.5 kg's of pre-softened eggplant slices sent me batty and cross eyed. I couldn't remember where I was up to: "have I oiled this side yet?" "Have I turned this batch?" I think I had to cook 80 – 100 slices of eggplant. It took waaaay to long for my liking and I'm not sure a beginner (which is what this booked is designed for) would enjoy this at all. So why am I putting this up? Well for those who can get access to large eggplants it would be less pain for the reward J
Cooking time: 1 hr to 1 ½ hours Serves: 6 - 8
Preheat oven: 180°c
- 4 large eggplants (aubergines)
- about 100 ml olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- a few sprigs fresh oregano, or 1 tsp dried
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- ¼ tsp sugar (or stevia)
- 1 small bunch fresh basil
- 2 slices good quality white bread, about 100g
- 80g Parmesan cheese
- 120g mozzarella cheese
- salt and pepper
1. Cut the eggplant/aubergines into slices about 5 mm thick. Use a pastry brush to paint the top of each slice with some of the olive oil.
2. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add several slices of aubergine, oiled side down. Fry for 5 minutes, or until golden and softened underneath. Brush the tops of the slices with oil, then turn and cook for another 5 minutes, or until completely tender. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the slices.
3. While the aubergines are cooking start the sauce. Thinly slice the garlic. Heat a pan over a medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until softened. Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, sugar and half the oregano. Tear in the basil, then simmer the sauce for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. To make the crumb topping, tear the bread into a food processor, discarding the crusts. Finely grate the Parmesan, then add half of it to the bread. Add the remaining oregano.
5. Process until you have breadcrumbs flecked with green.
IF YOU DON'T HAVE A FOOD PROCESSOR
You can make the breadcrumbs by grating the bread instead. Finely chop the herbs, then stir them together with the crumbs and the Parmesan.
6. Make layers of the aubergines and tomato sauce in an ovenproof dish, seasoning the aubergines with salt and pepper as you go.*
7. Chop the mozzarella into small pieces. Scatter the mozzarella and remaining parmesan over the top and finish with the crumbs and a drizzle of oil.
8. Bake the dish for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to settle in the dish for 10 minutes before serving.
This dish can be prepared up to the end of step 7, then covered and chilled in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If cooking from chilled, add an extra 10 minutes to the cooking time and cover it with foil if the topping browns before the time is up.
* I didn't season the aubergines with salt and pepper as I went along. I would have found it way too salty if I had.