This recipe is slightly adapted from Sophie Dahl’s ‘Voluptuous Delights’ version. Unlike other recipes for this dish, it has no breadcrumbs or eggs, but it is incredibly tasty, much greater than the sum of its parts.
2 or 3 aubergines-sea salt-olive oil-a large onion-3 cloves garlic-3 tins tomatoes-sugar-black pepper-balsamic vinegar-lots of fresh basil-dried oregano-200g mozzarella-100g grated parmesan-pine nuts (optional)-olive bread (optional)
Take two biggish aubergines (or three smaller ones). Slice them into 1cm thick rounds, lay them out on a tray, sprinkle with sea salt and leave them for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan).
Use a large, lidded frying pan to gently fry an onion and three cloves of garlic before adding three tins of tomatoes, a teaspoon of oregano and a dessertspoon of sugar. Season with salt and pepper, then simmer (lid on) for 20 minutes. At the end of twenty minutes, add a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.
Rinse and pat dry the aubergine. Lay it out on a large baking tray. Brush every piece with olive oil and place in the oven for 20 minutes, until nice and golden.
Grease your baking dishes with olive oil. I like to use lots of little dishes as it makes any leftovers easier to deal with. In fact, there are still two small dishes sitting uncooked in our fridge, smugly waiting to be turned into a quick dinner tomorrow night.
Put a single layer of aubergine into the bottom of each dish. Sprinkle with fresh basil and some mozzarella slices. Put a ladleful of tomato sauce into each dish, enough to cover the aubergine. Sprinkle with some parmesan. Repeat this layering once more, finishing with parmesan and fresh basil,
Put the dishes into the oven (180 degrees, fan oven) for about 20 minutes, until the mozzarella and parmesan have melted.
Leave for five minutes before serving with more basil, a sprinkling of pine nuts (optional) and some olive bread.