In years gone by, it would get to August in Cape Town and we’d be desperately hoping Summer would come knocking at our door. This year, not so much. Winter – we’d like you to stay a little longer, please. Let it rain, rain, rain (we need it desperately) and give us more excuses to stay at home, cosy up and cook comfort food deluxe like this Aubergine Parmigiana!
How about putting this classic dish on your menu this weekend?
With love from the Palace people
3 medium to large aubergines, cut length ways into 2 cm slices
1 jar Pesto Princess Sundried Tomato Pesto
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
2 tsp garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp fresh origanum, leaves picked
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
880 g passata or canned pureed tomatoes
½ cup fresh basil leaves + extra for garnish
½ cup parmesan, freshly grated
200 g mozzarella cheese, grated
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Drizzle olive oil onto a baking tray and arrange the sliced aubergine. You might need to use two trays or make this in two batches.
2. Spread a thin layer of Pesto Princess Sundried Tomato Pesto on each slice of aubergine before cooking in the oven for 12-15 minutes. You want the eggplant to be cooked and tender, but still slightly firm to retain its shape. Remove from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 180°C.
3. While the aubergines are cooking, start with the sauce. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onions and sauté until soft. Add the garlic, oreganum and vinegar and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the passata, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes before adding fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Once your aubergines and sauce are ready, you can assemble the dish. In a medium oven-proof baking dish, spoon a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the base, sprinkle with parmesan then top with a layer of eggplant. Repeat until all the ingredients are used, ending with a layer of sauce, a sprinkling of parmesan and all of the grated mozzarella.
5. Bake until the eggplant mixture is bubbly and the cheese crispy, 30 to 45 minutes depending on size of pan and thickness of layers. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a simple salad and fresh ciabatta rolls.
Recipe and food styling by Michelle Parkin.
Michael Olivier’s Choice
Durbanville Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
This lovely, cool climate Cabernet will accompany the traditional Sunday roast lunch as easily as it will take on a delicious, well-cooked Aubergine Parmigiana as a mid-week supper dish.
It looks like Packed under natural cork in a Bordeaux shaped bottle. The elegant diamond-shaped label is a DH tradition. In the glass, a deep plum at the core which pales out to ruby garnet at the meniscus.
It smells like Classical black fruit whiffs, blackcurrants, brambles and blood plums. Cedary oak in support.
It tastes like Full round and rich. Generous berry fruits, dark chocolate and vanilla on the ample mid-palate. Brilliant bright acidity and cashmere clad tannins follow through from entry to tail.