Sunday, April 17, 2011

Baked Tomato-Eggplant...Thing

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I have very few dinners that I enjoy and can have on this diet and Baked Tomato-Eggplant...Thing is one of them. It's essentially Eggplant Parmesean but without the parmesean, bread crumbs, flour, oil or egg. It's just baked eggplant, layered with homemade tomato sauce and whatever else I have laying around, usually topped with pine nuts or crumbled cashews to add texture that is then baked again. Here's how I make it...(Recipe makes 2 servings)

1 large eggplant or two baby eggplants
5 medium tomatoes
1/4 white onion
2 cloves garlic
Pine nuts or crumbled cashews
Italian herbs and spices and salt and pepper to taste

Sauce: Start the sauce early as it needs time to boil down. Wash and dice tomatoes and put them in a large frying pan or sauce pan over medium heat add some salt if you like. Let them cook for about 5 minutes. Then add chopped onion and diced or minced garlic. Let this mixture cook/boil down until after onion and garlic are soft. Then I like to puree everything in a food processor and place back in the pan to reduce and thicken more. (Careful-hot) Add herbs, spices, salt, pepper or anything you like until the taste of the sauce is to your liking. (I use basil, oregano, salt, fresh ground black pepper and dried chilli flakes.) After 1-2 hours of cooking the sauce should be ready, but leave this to your own judgement as I am not an expert, if it tastes too tomatoey keep cooking.

Eggplant: Preheat the oven to 375 C. Wash and peel the eggplant. (The skin is toxic when un-cooked so resit the urge to gnaw on it while cooking....) Cut the eggplant into discs approximately 1 to 2cm thick. I then place eggplant into strainer and sprinkle salt on it because I once read you need to let it sweat out its bitterness... Then I rinse and dry it. Place eggplant onto non-stick cookie sheet and bake in the oven 5 minutes on each side.

Baked...Thing: I use a meatloaf pan for the next step. Layer eggplant and sauce in pan. Sometimes I add spinach or chicken. When you run out of eggplant do one last layer of sauce and then you can sprinkle pine nuts or crushed cashews on top. The nuts brown nicely in the oven and add texture and more flavour to the dish. Place in the oven (which is still at 375 C) and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on how thick the slices are and how deep the layers go.  You can serve it on a bed of fresh spinach for extra points.

WARNING: If you are not on a diet/lactose intolerant/allergic to gluten please eat regular eggplant parmesean and not this. Thankyou.

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