This is a gorgeous dish perfect for this time of year with an abundance of eggplants, tomato and even basil.  It may seem bizarre but although vegetarian this is a really meaty dish so perfect for people who still need convincing that a meal can be complete without meat.

Serves 4

2 eggplants
2 Tblspns flour
1 egg
½ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1-2 cloves garlic
½ onion
1 Tblspns capers
1 tspn dried oregano
Red wine
1&1/2 cups pasata
Salt & pepper
1 Tblspn brown sugar
Fresh basil

Slice the eggplants into 1cm slices.  Set out 3 dishes, one with flour, the second with the beaten egg and the final one with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan mixed together. Dip each slice into the flour then beaten egg and finally breadcrumbs and fry in batch.  I used a little coconut oil in the pan but olive oil or butter would work too.

Fry in batches to ensure the eggplant are crispy on both sides.

Next make the tomato sauce by gently sautéing finely chopped onion, garlic and capers in a little oil.  When the onions are translucent add a glug of wine.  When the wine has evaporated add the oregano, sugar and tomato pasata (if you don’t have pasata simply blend a tin of chopped tomatoes with 2 Tblspns of tomato paste).  Season with salt and pepper and simmer for five minutes.

To assemble, layer half the slices of eggplant on a greased oven tray.  Top these with the tomato sauce and then slices of mozzarella and a leaf or two of basil.  Top this with these with the remaining eggplant, topped with the remaining tomato sauce and more mozzarella.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the tin foil and continue to bake for another 10 minutes to crisp up the cheese.  Serve with some extra grated parmesan.

*If you can get it use fresh buffalo mozzarella.  I recommend Whangaripo or Clevedon buffalo mozzarella.




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