This is based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Melanzane alla Parmigana with some slight changes. It worked really well and makes a delicious meal. This makes 4 portions as a main dish. It’s great served with a mixed salad.
I started by slicing 4 medium to large sized aubergines into slices lengthways. I brushed them with some olive oil then cooked them on a hot grill pan until they became tender and a little charred. Do them in batches and while they are cooking start making the tomato sauce. First cover about 600 – 700 grams of fresh ripe tomatoes in boiling water in pan and boil for a minute or so until the skins split and then pour out the water and allow them to cool a little. Meanwhile chop a red onion and fry it in olive oil after a couple of minutes I added 3 cloves of chopped garlic. Skin and chop the tomatoes, retaining any juice that comes out of them, and add these to the onions with a couple of pinches of salt and some black pepper. I added a bouquet garni, you can add a couple of bay leaves and some dried oregano instead, then I covered the pan and simmered them for about 10-15 mins until the tomatoes were staring to break down and I added a tbsp. of balsamic vinegar, which gives the dish a deeper flavor, and removed the bouquet garni.
Then in an oiled baking dish I put a layer of the aubergine (about half) and then poured over half the tomatoes mixture and then sprinkled over a layer of grated mozzarella (I used about 150g of a local spicy one which has chillies in it which gave the dish a subtle spiciness, you could add a little chili powder to the tomato sauce instead). Then I put on the rest of the aubergine and then covered it with the tomato mixture. Then in my food processor I made breadcrumbs with a couple of slices of whole meal bread, to these I added a splash of olive oil and about 50g of grated parmesan and some ground black pepper and mixed them together. I then sprinkled the breadcrumbs over the top of the bake and put it in the oven for about half an hour until it’s bubbling and golden brown on top. If the breadcrumbs cook too quickly and the bake isn’t yet bubbling then place a piece of tin foil over the top to stop them burning. Allow to cool a little before serving. It’s great with a mixed salad and some fresh bread.