My Very Lazy Baked Aubergine

I was faced with a problem this week (not a real problem, but when it comes to food I can get dramatic). I wanted Aubergine Parmigiana, but I was too lazy to make it. I’ve done the full 4-hour, intensive, delicious slice of heaven before, but I was too hot, too tired and didn’t want to disrupt my study rhythm with hours away from my work. As a result of my laziness, I now give you a way to make a similar dish in half the time, with minimal effort, less than half an hour of actually doing stuff, and it tastes delish – winning! Here’s the recipe below if, like me, you are lazy but also greedy and like cheese way too much. (The photos are from my phone, so the quality is a bit iffy)

Makes 4 servings

Work time 20mins, wait time 2ish hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium aubergines
  • 500g pasatta
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 70(ish)g grated Parmesan
  • Basil (12ish leaves, depends how much you have/ how bothered you are)
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Method:

  1. First thing you do is wash & slice the aubergines into 5mm thick rounds.FE734D11-818A-430D-AF9E-66094589B6C3 Then shove them in a sieve with rock salt. I layered my slices with salt in between to get an even spread, but if you chuck rock salt and the slices into a bowl, toss them and then pour them into the sieve that works too.38E5FB6D-5F95-4094-8EC7-AD6B1CD6C6D7 Leave them for an hour to draw the water.
  2. While you wait, mince the garlic, pop it in the pan with enough olive oil to just cover it, and turn on the heat to medium/low. AA451438-9CD1-4B58-9091-E3E8C278BE0AOnce the garlic starts to sizzle, pour in the passata and add your salt and pepper to taste. If your passata is super cheap and very sour, add a teaspoon of sugar to help with the acidity. I know people add baking soda, but you lose some of the flavour doing that and nobody likes insipid tomatoes! Turn it onto a low heat and leave to reduce for about 45mins (stir it every now and again… over the 45 mins I only stirred it twice because if forgot I was cooking. Luckily it didn’t burn!)
  3. Preheat your oven to 160 on fan/ 180 on conventional.
  4. Rinse your aubergine rounds in cold water and pat ‘em dry.
  5. Grab your tin (I only have a 1lb loaf tin, but it was a little small) and pop the tomato sauce on the bottom of the tin. 648B943D-359C-4E7A-9F1C-017F04266DC1Then layer your aubergine, Parmesan and basil on top. I tore the basil up, because again, I am too lazy to chop it. 9321B920-90E5-48AD-80FE-31604C22D81DRepeat the tomato, aubergine, Parmesan and basil layers until you run out of aubergine.
  6. For the final layer, put the tomato sauce on top of the aubergine, then finish with the rest of your Parmesan. EA704E1E-A4EF-42DD-86D9-32600F5B46AFPop it in the oven and leave it for an hour.
  7. After an hour, turn off the oven and leave the tin inside for another 15mins. Then take it out, leave it to cool for 5 and then serve! Voila! Lazy baked Parmesan aubergine!E89C2D37-C24E-4B89-BF80-67614D3AE2D1.jpeg

Why is this the lazy version, I hear you ask? The short answer is I skipped a step – pan grilling the aubergine. You can do this, which gives you a very silky end product… and an extra hour of work, and extra washing up. Ultimately, my version has a nearly al dente  bite, but it’s still cooked through, and I prefer this texture. I also left out the mozzarella, which I didn’t have. If you want, put bits of mozzarella in between the layers (yum yum extra cheese). Also, while the tomato sauce is hella basic, you *might* be able to get away with just putting in the passata straight out of the box… but you’d have a more acidic and watery end product.

Pro tips:

  • Heating up the garlic with the oil releases more flavour, and prevents it from burning quickly
  • Don’t add basil to your tomato sauces at the beginning of cooking – it makes the basil go slimy and the end result is more bitter
  • Don’t use the very tiny holes on your grater for the Parmesan, unless you are a masochist
  • I’m not actually a pro, so feel free to disregard all of the above!
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