This recipe is from my first cookbook, FOOD: I enjoy this recipe as is, but sometimes I like to vary it. For instance, a pinch of chilli flakes added to the tomato sauce provides an extra kick. This is good served with a leafy salad or steamed green beans. In America aubergines are known as Eggplant.
Prep time: approx. 35 minutes
Cooking time: approx. 15-20 minutes
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g (14.5 ounce) tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 tablespoon chopped mixed herbs (such as oregano and parsley), plus a pinch sea salt
2 medium aubergines (eggplants)
1 tablespoon tamari sauce (for gluten free), or soy sauce (not gluten free)
100g (3 ounces) soft goat’s cheese (or chopped mozzarella)
120g (4 ounces) goat’s cheddar or mature cheddar, grated
Handful of fresh basil leaves, approx 25g
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 /(350°F).
- First make the tomato sauce. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and then gently sauté the chopped onions until softened and slightly golden brown in colour (this should take about 8 minutes).
- Then stir in the chopped garlic, the tin of chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, a tablespoon of mixed herbs and a small pinch of sea salt. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce has reduced down and thickened nicely. Take off the heat and set aside.
- Prepare the aubergines by slicing them widthways into discs, about 1cm (1\3 inch) thick.
- In a small bowl combine the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the soy or tamari sauce and a pinch of mixed herbs. Lightly brush one side of the aubergine with the olive oil mixture. Sauté the slices in batches in a large non-stick frying pan, until golden brown on both sides.
- Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a medium baking dish. On top of this place a layer of aubergine slices and then spoon a small amount of tomato sauce over the aubergines. Scatter evenly with crumbled pieces of the soft goat’s cheese followed by another layer of aubergine. Again, spread some tomato sauce over the aubergine slices and then scatter the coarsely broken fresh basil leaves over the top. Sprinkle over the grated Cheddar to finish.
- Bake for 15–20 minutes, until the tomato sauce and cheese are bubbling and the cheese is golden brown on top.