aubergine stacks

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We had a real house-full over Christmas, including a vegetarian niece. So, I made quite a few vegetarian dishes. One of them was this one, which is actually from the latest cookbook – The Ultimate Vegetarian Collection – by Alison Holst & her son Simon. (Dame Alison is a real national treasure, here in NZ: according to an article in the morning paper,  from a list of celebrity cooks, she was the one most people would choose to cook a New Year’s dinner.) I made it because a) it looked delicious & b) I was a bit pressed for time & it was going to be faster to prepare than eggplant parmigiana (which was the daughter’s original pick for tea). The original recipe has you slicing the aubergines/eggplants in half longitudinally & then slicing each half in half, so that at the end of the recipe you end up with tidy stacks, each with a skin-up slice of the aubergine. But mine were huge things & so I sliced them horizontally, keeping sets of 2 slices together so that they were roughly equivalent in size. It worked fine but probably lacked the visual appeal of the original.

Anyways, once the eggplants are sliced, brush both sides of each slice with oil (I used olive oil), sprinkle with salt, & then pop under the grill until they soften & are starting to brown. Then whip them out & assemble thusly: cover the bottom slice of each pair with sliced or diced tomatoes. (I used the first of our summer crop, & they were delicious.) Follow this with a layer of basil; while you could chop this, I just used whole leaves off the big bunch of basil that I’d bought at the market. Top that with sliced or grated mozarella, & then pop the other aubergine slice on top, & arrange the stacks in a roasting dish big enough to take them all.

At this point I looked at the stacks & decided that they needed a bit of extra something, so I put another slice of mozarella atop each one. (If I’d sliced them the Holst way, this wouldn’t have been necessary 🙂 ). Then back them at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted & golden & the tomatoes are cooked.

We had them with zucchini fritters (gussied up by the addition of parmesan & basil, which replaced the cumin I often use) and a sweet red pepper sauce. Vegetarian and omnivores alike declared them delicious!

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