Posted by: Joan Spiller | July 2, 2011

Eggplant bake – Recipe


Serving vegetarian dishes need not be something you only do when weirdoes like me come to dinner! This one is good enough to serve anytime. Eggplant is a much maligned vegetable. Cooked poorly, it’s oily, chewy and quite vile. Cooked properly, it’s simply out of this world! And (when in season!) it’s a good base for many a vege-meal.

1/2c olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 bay leaf
2kg tomatoes, roughly chopped (Seeds in)
Salt and pepper to taste
A handful of fresh herbs, such as parsley and rosemary
1kg eggplant, sliced about 1/2-inch/1 cm thick
1c rustic (ie not fine / shop bought) breadcrumbs, toasted
Pinch chilli powder (to taste, I’d use 1t)
About 3T freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 450°F/230°C.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan and cook the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf and cook for a minute or two.

Then add the tomatoes and cook to a thick, chunky sauce, about 30 minutes should do it – we do not want pulp, we want a chunky sauce. Remove the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and stir in the fresh herbs.

While the sauce is cooking, brush the eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil and lay in a single layer on a baking tray (or 2). 

Bake until golden and soft, about 15 minutes; turn them over then grill the other side until golden. Remove and set aside.

Turn the oven down to 375°F/190°C.

Mix the bread crumbs with the chilli powder.

In a large oven proof dish (to serve straight to the table, ideally) starting with just the thinnest smear of tomato sauce over the bottom, make layers of eggplant, sauce, then breadcrumbs.

Repeat until the dish is full, ending with breadcrumbs.

Scatter the cheese over top and bake until the top is golden, about 30 minutes.

Serve!

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