Ever have one of those moments where you’ve just been asked what you fancy for dinner and for the first time in your life you actually don’t have an answer, not even a tiny feeling, you just don’t know what you fancy? And this is what I’m good at, I rule this part of the relationship, this is my domain, I am committed to embracing every craving I have – I always have a feeling when it comes to food so when I don’t… pure horror. I mean this is a big question, it carries a lot of responsibility, are you up to making the final decision on what’s on the menu for tonight?
If ever I fail on pinning down a decision then this is my go to, my dream dish, Aubergine Parmigana. Or to simply describe it, this big hot mess of melted cheese, layers of grilled Aubergine drowning in rich tomato sauce. Did you ever play that game where you have to list your final death row meal? I’m talking your dream starter, main, side and desert? Well this was always my main choice. What’s yours?
You only need a few ingredients for this if you want to keep it plain and simple or feel free to add in a few little extras and improvise. Regardless it might not be the prettiest dish but I promise you you won’t be able to stop having one more spoonful until the dish has magically vanished, and it’s what’s inside that counts remember.
Only problem is it takes a tiny bit more time than I usually spend on a meal, so if you’re really hungry then maybe skip this one until you’re feeling patient. It’ll be worth it trust me.
What you’ll need –
– 1 large Aubergine (the chunkier the better)
– 1 courgette
– handful of mushrooms
– red onion
– garlic (lots)
– 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
– mozzarella ball
What you’ll need to do –
– this is the fiddly part you need to cut the Aubergine into thin circular discs probably 1cm thick and the courgette into long thin strips. Mine never usually turn out that well but it’ll always do.
– now get grilling these discs, this is the long part. So be patient. Glaze with a little bit of oil and keep watch
– whilst these are grilling you cans start on your sauce. Chop up the mushrooms and onion as thin as you can, thinly dice as Jonny would say.
– fry up some garlic (the more the better) then add in some chill flakes and sauté your mushroom and garlic.
– when these are cooked add in the tins of chopped tomatoes and leave to simmer away.
– add any little extras you fancy, I add in a heap of basil. And I mean a lot. It’s too good.
– leave this to simmer away whilst you finish up your grilling. You want the sauce to boil off and get thicker. Add in some of the Parmesan and season.
– now pour half this mix into an oven dish, add on some roughy torn basil leaves and sprinkle parmesan and then start creating a layer with the aubergine and courgette strips. This isn’t a beauty contest. You just want a mish-mash covering.
– then pour on the remaining sauce and complete the final layer of the vegetables. Add on more basil and the remaining Parmesan and finally top with the slices of mozzarella.
– then bake in the oven until the cheese has melted and golden brown.
– now plate up a decent chunk, maybe throw in a little mixed salad on the side. Keep it simple. Rocket. Tomato and cucumber and some of the red onion.
– voila dinner is served.
This is a great way of getting a nice rich dose of veggies, it doesn’t have any carbs, any gluten, it’s just a hot gooey vegetable mess. I challenge anyone not to like it.
What’s not to enjoy. So play about and mix up your own spin on it. Only one problem, there’s no way you will be able to resist a second, third or fourth helping. Sorry.