3 large eggplants
1-2 tins of tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 splash of olive oil for the sauce, plus extra for frying the eggplant
1 teaspoon of dried oregano, or a small bunch of fresh oregano
A small bunch of fresh basil
A pinch of salt, plus more for sprinkling the eggplant
A dash of chilli and black pepper
A large ball of mozzarella
SLICE, PEEL, STIR, SIMMER, FRY, LAYER, BAKE…
Slice the eggplants into half centimeter rounds. Layer the slices out on a plate and sprinkle both sides with salt. Cover with a tea towel and leave aside for 10 minutes. This process draws out some of the bitterness. You don’t have to do this step, but it ensures a bitter-less eggplant dish.
In the meantime, get the sauce on. Peel the garlic and finely dice or mince it, and then put it in the pot with the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the herbs, salt, pepper, chilli, and after a minute of stirring, add in the tinned tomatoes. If they are whole tomatoes, just press them against the side of the pot to break them up a bit, but it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit chunky. Let it simmer away, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens up.
Rinse the salt off the eggplants. Heat up the pan well and lug in a good dash of olive oil. When the oil is hot enough, fry the eggplants on both sides for a few minutes until a little golden. You will need to do this in batches as it all won’t fit in the pan at once. You will also need to top up with a little oil each time you add new eggplant. Drain on some paper towel on a plate when they are cooked.
Get out your baking dish and and layer a thin layer of sauce on the base, then a layer of eggplant, another layer of sauce, and continue with eggplant and sauce layers until it is all used up. Any remaining sauce can be poured over the top, or left to have later with some pasta.
Slice the mozzarella and layer it over the top. Add some fresh basil on top, and put it in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, making sure not to burn the cheese.