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Recipes AUBERGINE & CHEESE BAKE

AUBERGINE & CHEESE BAKE

Prep 1 hr
Cooking Bake 30 - 40 mins
Serves 3 - 4

We’re celebrating all things veggie this month with the launch of our NEW Cape Herb & Spice Sprinkle Veggie Seasoning range! This aubergine and cheese bake makes a wonderfully satisfying main that even committed carnivores will tuck into with gusto. All it calls for is a green salad on the side plus good company.

- WHAT YOU WILL NEED -

  • FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE
  • one fat clove of garlic, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • FOR THE BAKE
  • 1 x 400g can of chopped Italian tomatoes
  • 6 large aubergines
  • 1 x 400g can of whole peeled Italian tomatoes
  • heaped teaspoon of salt
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • half a cup of flour
  • 1 heaped Tbsp brown sugar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ cups grated mozzarella
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup grated, aged parmesan
  • 2½ tsp Cape Herb & Spice Sprinkle Veggie Seasoning
  • black pepper

- METHOD -

Start off by making the tomato sauce. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large saucepan and drop in the garlic. Fry gently over very low heat for four minutes to infuse the oil with garlic flavour. Remove the garlic and discard. Add the rest of the tomato sauce ingredients, cover saucepan with a lid and simmer on very low heat for 40 minutes.

In the meantime, peel the aubergines and then cut them lengthwise in slices half a centimeter thick. Place aubergine slices in a colander, sprinkle over a heaped teaspoon of salt and allow to stand for 40 minutes. Then rinse aubergines under running water and pat dry.

Dip the aubergines in flour and shake off excess. Fry aubergines in olive oil in a non-stick pan until golden-brown both sides. (Cook’s note: Aubergines are basically giant sponges – they will absorb as much oil as you give them. To limit the amount of oil in this dish, do use a non-stick pan and add only a tablespoon of olive oil at a time, adding extra only as you need it.) Place fried aubergine slices on paper kitchen towel to drain. Now you’re ready to build your bake.

Spoon some tomato sauce into an oven-proof dish. Add a layer of aubergine, then mozzarella and parmesan. Keep on building layers and finish the final layer with mozzarella and parmesan. (Cook’s note #1: We used a 20cm round casserole and with six large aubergines we managed to build three layers. Cook’s note #2: Use just two-thirds of the tomato sauce or else the bake will be too ‘saucy’. The rest of the tomato sauce can be frozen and used down the line for an instant Napolitana pasta, spread onto pizza bases, used to make cheese and tomato toasties, or added to stews or soups.)

Bake in a pre-heated 200 ˚C oven for 30-40 minutes until golden. Serve piping hot.

 

Recipe concept & photography by Lizet Hartley.

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at http://www.melkkos-merlot.co.za

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