Ingredients

  • 1kg (2 ¼ lb) aubergines, thinly sliced lengthways
  • about 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g (14oz) (2 cups) mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 100g (4oz) (1 cup) finely grated Kerrygold Dubliner
  • For the tomato sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 800g (1 ¾ lb) (3 ½ cups) canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Green salad and ciabatta bread, to serve

Directions

Whoever said vegetables lack substance will eat their words with our baked aubergine recipe. Truth be told, aubergine is technically a fruit, but don’t tell the Italians. They fight - North vs. South - over ownership of this glorious dish.
  1. Layer the aubergine slices on a plate. Sprinkle with salt and cover with kitchen paper. Repeat with another layer on top until you have used up all the aubergine slices, finishing with kitchen paper. Weigh it down with something heavy, like a pan filled with water, and leave for 30 minutes so that the aubergines can release any excess liquid.
  2. In the meantime you can make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for about 4 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds but keep an eye - you don’t want it to burn. Stir in the tomatoes with the tomato purée, sugar, cayenne pepper and stock cube. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4 and heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Brush each aubergine slice with a drizzle of oil, then fry a few slices at a time, until cooked through and golden on both sides. Add a little more oil to the pan, if needed. Drain on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
  4. Cover the bottom of a 30cm x 20cm (12in x 8in) baking dish with two tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Top with a layer of aubergine and lightly spread with 4 tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle generously with mozzarella and Cheddar. Repeat these layers until you have used all the aubergine, finishing with a layer of tomato sauce and Cheddar (no mozzarella). Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Leave to settle in the baking dish for 5 minutes.
  5. To serve, place the dish of baked aubergine with tomato sauce and cheese on the table and accompany with a bowl of salad and fresh bread.

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