Is anything bad when topped with cheese? I’m vegan 99% of the time now, but today made an exception. This is supposed to be with Parmesan and mozzarella (like all good Italian dishes) but I ended up using Polish cheddar instead. If anything, Georgia has taught me how to improvise like a Mongolian solider.
Serves 3 (or 2 ravenous people)
One large onion
Several cloves of finely-chopped or minced garlic
Basil (fresh or dried, I used a bit of both)
A tin of chopped tomatoes
3 medium aubergines cut into 1cm slices
Grated cheese (of course Parmesan works better than Cheddar but it’s up to you)
One egg (beaten)
Bread crumbs if you fancy it
You know the drill, caramelise your onion in a hot pan, then add garlic and oregano (to taste, I added two teaspoons) when it’s translucent.
Meanwhile slice your aubergine and get your oven hot.
Lay your aubergine out on a baking tray with a tiny bit of oil. Try to leave space between them, although I was in a rush so wasn’t so fussy.
Pop them in the oven, keeping an eye on them. You want them soft and for the flavour to be released but not burnt. So when one side looks okay, flip them over.
When your sauce is done it should look similar to this. You could’ve added tomato puree to thicken it up and make it go further, or you could blend it into a smooth paste. Again, I was short on time so didn’t bother, but I like a chunkier texture anyway.
Create a layer of the tomato sauce in your oven-proof dish and then top with cheese, followed by a layer of aubergines. Repeat until you run out.
Then, top with more cheese (because you might as well go guns blazing) some bread crumbs, and then your beaten egg. The egg is optional but I think it really helps make everything good and crunchy.
Put into your oven (still hot from the aubergines) for half an hour.
Et voila! Crunchy, gooey, cheesy dinner is served!
Sometimes it’s necessary. I’m British, I need comfort food even in the summer. It’s been quite overcast here this week and I’m already dreaming about autumn. It’s programmed into me to enjoy one week of sunshine then get ready for winter. For Tbilisi, it’s only the beginning!
Let me know what you think of this one, I’m still not sure how I liked it because I sometimes find aubergine a bit strange. We had to use them up and I figured everything tastes good doused in cheese and tomato… Enjoy!