Some people call them aubergine, some brinjal or even eggplant, but whatever you wish to call them, they are truly delicious if baked in a lasagne dish with cheese, tomato, mushrooms or spinach topped with lovely fresh crumbs, then baked to a golden brown!
This dish could be vegetarian, as it has no meat, but there is cheese added, so I would say vegetarians can say it for themselves if it suits their diet. I frequently make this dish as a meatless option for our dinners at the farm, and it is enjoyed very much by our guests.
Aubergine was never a favourite when I was a child, in fact, I can’t recall my mom ever cooking them. I think we have more innovative ideas for using ingredients these days, and people are willing to try more unusual veggies. Aubergine can be quite bitter if eaten on its own or not cooked well, so here is a good idea the whole family will enjoy.
I will never forget how our twin sons, Stephen and David had a forced diet of Moussaka or Melanzane as the Greeks call it! About 20 years ago they backpacked and camped through Europe, living mostly on Pasta cooked over a 1 pot travelling kit, and in Greece and Italy ate a lot of Moussaka as it was the cheapest item on the menu in their Bistros. The bread served with this was free! So they ate a lot of it! They didn’t enjoy it one bit as they didn’t know what it was and no doubt didn’t know how to ask for cheese to be sprinkled on top. It went down all the same as it was cheap and hot and they were poor and hungry! Shame, they’ve come a long way since then…
My Recipe – Aubergine Lasagne
- 3 or 4 medium-sized aubergines, unpeeled and fresh
- Olive oil
- 300g Mozzarella cheese
- 2 tins of tomato and onion mix
- 2 tbsp. fresh basil (chopped)
- 1 cup or more ciabatta crumbs mixed with 300g grated Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil to drizzle over before baking
- Slice the Aubergines into approx 1 cm round discs. Lay on 1 or 2 large baking sheets (covered with baking paper if you have, this saves washing the pans), brush both sides with olive oil – bake at 180° till brown underneath, about 10 min then turn the discs over with a spatula and bake again till tender. Set aside.
- Stir basil into tomato and onion mix with 2 tsp sugar
- Slice cheese thinly, or use grated mozzarella
- Now layer in a greased deepish dish the tomato mix, then aubergine, slices of cheese, tomato mix and then crumbs and parmesan mix. Season with S + P or herb salt. Repeat again and drizzle a little olive oil all over before baking in a 180° oven for about 30 min, till nicely browned and bubbly.