Aubergine Bake

This Aubergine Bake is the perfect versatile vegetarian and vegan recipe for a cold, gloomy winter’s evening; the silky aubergine, sweet tomato and stringy mozzarella are the ideal comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 4 x Aubergines
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 x large red onion
  • 3 x garlic cloves
  • 100ml white wine (optional)
  • 1 x tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 x 125g balls mozzarella, Vegan or traditional
  • Small bunch of basil
  • 80g parmesan, vegan or traditional.
  • Black pepper

This has got to be my all-time favourite home cooked dinner. I have been making it for years and finally feel I have the right balance of all the ingredients. It does require a bit of time to make, so this is one for a weekend, not after a busy day at work!

Method

1) Start by slicing the aubergines into rounds, about 0.5cm thick.

2) Pour some flour on a plate and (one at a time) pat each side of the aubergine slices into the flour.

3) Heat some oil in a frying pan (or you can use 2 pans to speed up the process!). In batches, fry the aubergines on each side, until golden. You might need to top up the oil from time to time.

4) Line a baking tray with kitchen towel and lay the fried aubergines onto it. As aubergines absorb a lot of oil, this will remove some of the grease. Keep going, until all the aubergine slices have been fried. Pat them again with kitchen towel.

5) To start the tomato sauce, first finely chop the onion. Fry over a medium heat in a large saucepan, until softened.

6) Finely chop the garlic and add to the onions. Fry for a further 1 min. Add the wine and let it bubble until reduced.

7) Add the tomato puree and stir to combine to make a paste. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and stir again. Allow the sauce to simmer for around 20 mins, stirring occasionally.

8) You can now begin to assemble the parmigiana. Heat the oven to 200°c /180°c fan.

9) Take a rectangle baking dish (around 30cm x 20cm) and begin the first layer by spreading some of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Then place the aubergine slices in rows, trying not to overlap.

10) Spread another layer of tomato sauce. Slice the mozzarella finely as you can and lay a third on top of the sauce. Tear some basil leaves and sprinkle on top. Again, continue with; Aubergine, tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil and repeat once more. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on the top.

9) Put the dish in the oven and bake for 25 – 30 mins, until golden on the top.

10) Leave to stand for two minutes and serve with black pepper, rocket leaves and a crusty olive bread roll.

** Cook’s Tip ** To make a healthier version, try baking the aubergine instead of frying.