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Eggplant thingee

March 22, 2009

…it’s a very sloppy, flavour-kick-in-the-tip-of-your-tongue, eggplant parmesan, but so richly textured and deeply flavoured you’ll want some bread and pasta to have with it. Also, it has cauliflower in it (which makes it less kick-in-the-tip-of-your-tongue-y). Weird, I know…but I actually think the flavours were pretty amazing. Also, this isn’t that expensive, despite the use of parmesan and shallots and garlic in this…

While it does take a bit of effort to prep all the ingredients beforehand, then take the time to bake it until the cheese bubbles and forms that perfect golden crust, it is the ultimate comfort food and worthy of your patience. You can build up your layers even more and improvise the order of the layers and how you want to build it up…the flavours are all there!

eggplantthing-1Eggplant layer bake

serves 2 as a side

1 small eggplant or 1/2 a large eggplant, sliced into 1cm slices
1/4 head of cauliflower, chopped into walnut-sized florets
salt and pepper to taste
1c grated edam or mozarella cheese
1/3c finely grated parmesan
fresh herbs to top
basil pesto (optional)

cooking oil

For the tomato sauce:
1 small onion
at least 3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 shallot, chopped finely (or use one medium onion instead of a small one)
1 Tbs capers (optional)
4 tomatoes, chopped, or a can of chopped tomatoes
pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper
splash red wine vinegar
about 1/4c cream (optional)
basil, oregano

In a medium non stick frypan, heat a teaspoon of oil on medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and arrange the eggplant slices on one layer (there may be some leftover, in which case you’ll have to do this in two lots or use a larger frypan if you have one). Let cook until the slices are golden on the bottom, then flip, and cook until the undersides are golden. Set aside on a plate you’ll eat off later (just to save you some washing up :))

Re-oil the pan, add another pinch of salt and pepper, and throw in your cauliflower florets. Let cook on medium to medium-high heat to lightly brown edges, flipping and/or tossing every now and then to ensure even cooking. Once it starts going translucent and changing to a pale green, set aside with the eggplant slices. Turn heat down to low, and ensure the pan is down to a low heat before continuing.

Preheat oven to 180C (350F), with a rack arranged at the very top. Add capers, onions, garlic, and shallots to the pan with a teaspoon of oil, and let happily cook away, stirring every now and then, until golden (you can chop the tomatoes during this time). Once golden, add the tomatoes, cream, herbs, and other ingredients for the sauce. Bring to a simmer and let cook until thickened to your liking.

While the sauce is bubbling away, you can grate your cheeses! Layer half the eggplant at the bottom, then smear with half the pesto. Sprinkle a tiny bit of cheese over (either parmesan or mozarella), then half the tomato sauce. Add all the cauliflower, then smear with the second half of basil pesto. Dump the rest of the tomato sauce on, smearing it out evenly. Distribute parmesan evenly on one layer, then layer the second half of the eggplant on. Top with the rest of the edam cheese and fresh herbs. Pop in the oven on the top rack for 25-35 mins, until the cheese has goldenified to your liking. The one in the picture was a little overdone actually, but go as golden as you please :). As mentioned before, serve with bread or potatoes or perhaps even atop some pasta.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul permalink
    March 23, 2009 12:48 am

    I came by from a WordPress feature to this post. Your promise to easy and inexpensive cooking (don’t know about the fun part though) definitely caught my attention. I’ve bookmarked your site.

    So far I’ve only been using my frying pan and countertop oven. Who knows, maybe I’ll be motivated to explore my kitchen.

  2. Sony Hua permalink
    March 23, 2009 12:52 am

    Yummy.

  3. patriciaburaschi permalink
    March 23, 2009 1:15 am

    HI, I also came from wordpress feature to your post.
    I love cooking and I am also an artist. Every month I hold an Gnocchi del 29 party in my house, where a special guest exhibits or talks about their work.
    I usually have 2 sauces for the Gnocchi and when I saw your blog I thought it would be cool to invite you to collaborate with a sauce recipe. The event is usually attended by 35-40 guests and I ask them for a donation to cover the costs, so I try to keep them down to favor everyone.
    If you agree, would you suggest a sauce that can go well with green gnocchi and is not to costly to prepare? (someone is bringing pesto already). I always add the special guest’s info, blog, website in my site so guests can visit their site. And I ask them to add mine to them as well.
    Please let me know what you think.
    If you live in New York you are welcome to come!

    Patricia

  4. March 23, 2009 2:15 am

    hello there, nice to meet you.

    I love cooking too and trying to be as simple as i can ( and find an inexpensive way to make good food…lol ). I’m interested with u’r blog, can i link it too from my wordpress? i’d love to follow the update!

    thank you very much!

    Aya : )

  5. twospoons permalink*
    March 23, 2009 10:42 am

    Paul: well tbh I always considered it a bit of a chore, but doing things like baking changed that and then I realised recipes are only ever guides, and that your imagination can make things a lot more rewarding!

    Patricia: Damn, the one time I wish I was in New York!

    Salvador: Awesome :) I like the lomos btw, very swish…

  6. Sarah permalink
    March 23, 2009 10:31 pm

    this looks SO good!
    first time visiting your blog… i love the layout!

  7. twospoons permalink*
    March 24, 2009 11:09 am

    Sarah: Muahaha, and to all the people who find it seriously impractical (which in some ways, it is), I now have an ally! (I’m from a graphic design-y background, not a web design one…can you tell?!)

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