For 6-8 serving you need
2 medium white onions, coarsely chopped
2-3 plump cloves of garlic
20ml canola oil
2 cans chopped tomatoes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2-3 medium-sized aubergines
30ml cake flour
3ml ground black pepper
3ml dried oregano
1egg, lightly whisked
Approximately 1cm canola or any neutral vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan
To finish the dish:
20ml finely shredded fresh basil leaves
125ml finely grated cheese – Parmesan, Pecorino or Strong Cheddar or about 8 slices mozzarella
Additional slices mozzarella for topping
30ml dried breadcrumbs (optional)
First get the tomato mix going
Heat the oil and add the chopped onions. Lightly sauté them until they appear glassy but not browning, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, add the tomatoes and the oregano. Allow the mixture to simmer gently for about 20 minutes. The mixture must be thick. Season to taste. I never add sugar to tomato mixtures as I find our tinned tomatoes are good quality and do not require sugar.
While the tomato is simmering prepare the aubergines
Slice the aubergines 4-6mm thick either lengthwise or in rounds
Place the flour and seasoning in a plastic bag. Add the aubergine slices and shake it well. (This is the best method to lightly flour and vegetables or meat)
Heat the oil in a frying pan.
Dip the individual floured slices in the egg and then place it in the hot oil. Fry for about a minute on each side. Watch the oil temperature to prevent burning.
Place on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
Select a shallow ovenproof dish no deeper than 5cm.
Spread half the tomato mixture on the base. Arrange a layer of the aubergine slices on top and sprinkle with cheese and the fresh basil.
Add the remaining tomato and another layer of aubergine.
Top with slices of mozzarella or a mixture of rated cheeses.
Finally sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs.
You can prepare this dish up to this stage a day ahead of time.
Bake at 200°C for 20-30 minutes or until golden and bubbling hot.
Serve as a vegetarian main course or as an accompaniment to grilled or roast meats, poultry or fish.
Small individual dishes can be served as a starter with crusty Italian bread such as Ciabatta.