Gratin of Grilled Aubergine in Spiced Tomato Sauce

This dish is supremely comforting, being rich, a touch sweet and of course, cheesy. It is a modification of an old Delia one (and she clearly nabbed it from Elizabeth David or similar) that my mum has liked to make for a long time. The mix of fresh and tinned tomatoes is because some of each needed using up: either or both together is fine.

This served three – after a starter

1 aubergine, sliced into thin rounds, salted and left in a colander

1 red pepper, roasted in the oven until flesh is soft and skin is blistered enough to  be peeled off easily. Then cut into thin slices having removed the seeds.

Tomato Sauce:

1 finely chopped onion

1 crushed garlic clove

large handful of fresh, ripe tomatoes, cut up into chunks

½ tin tomatoes

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of allspice

½ dessertspoon, sugar

bunch of parsley, finely chopped

very large pinch of salt (taste for seasoning, it is key here)

black pepper

Gratin topping:

mix of breadcrumbs and grated cheese (I finished off ends of Parmesan, cheddar and another unidentified cheese) – enough to cover the dish well.

How I made it:

Do preparation work with aubergine and red pepper (see above). Meanwhile soften onions and garlic in several tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add spices, sugar and then tomatoes and parsley. Cook on a low heat for 20-30 minutes. Season very well with salt. While the sauce is cooking, take aubergines from colander and pat  slices dry, then brush each side with olive oil and place under a hot grill. Turn when browned. In a deep baking dish, layer sauce, aubergine slices and slices of roasted pepper until all is finished. Cover with breadcrumb/cheese mixture and bake in oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown.

Eaten with:

A green salad and red wine.


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