ONE DAY TILL CHRISTMAS
With all the ubiquitous salads being served during the holidays sometimes I crave a warm, generous cooked vegetable dish. I have made a lot of melanzane in my life and my days of using about a litre of olive oil to fry 8 bringals cut into slices (only to have it all drain out again onto kitchen paper) are over. So try this and not only will you not have to lie in a darkened room at the end of the preparation but you may well even prefer it to the more "correct" version.
6 really ripe tomatoes, blanched in boiling water and skins slipped off.
2 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
4 large brinjals thickly sliced and laid out on a large oiled baking tray
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C for about an hour until coloured and soft.
While the brinjals are baking in the oven, make the tomato sauce in a heavy based pan.
Heat oil, add chopped tomatoes.
Stir for a minute or two and then add garlic and salt and pepper.
Allow to simmer on lower heat until sauce is reduced and glossy.
Add a bit more olive oil if necessary.
1 cup pouring cream
A handful of basil leaves torn
A handful of grated parmesan
Spread the tomato sauce into a casserole style dish, layer baked brinjal slices over the top, scatter basil leaves and pour cream over surface area. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for about an hour. Allow to cool slightly, garnish generously with some more fresh basil leaves. Serve this gorgeous dish on its own with crusty bread for a simple supper or lunch, or alternatively with some sliced steak or beef and a green salad for a proper meal.
Whatever you do - a glass of slightly chilled OMB red does the trick here.