Tuesday, 13 October 2015


Well I've just got back from a week away in Sardinia and I've had a blast. The food has been amazing and I've come back with tonnes of ideas I hope to put into my recipes. My first Sardi-inspired dish is this aubergine and tomato bake. The tomatoes in Sardinia were out of this world and by just adding a few bits to this classic ingredient you can really make them shine.  So whilst making a fresh tomato, garlic and chili sauce and pouring it some sliced aubergines might not sound like the most complex dish ever, it sure is a quick and simple tasty meal.

This take on the Italian dish Melanzane alla Parmigiana, there isn't much to say about this dish really other than the quality of it depends of the quality of the tomatoes you buy. The fresher the better! Get yourself some plump plum tomatoes from the market and your dish will become a vibrant masterpiece which will dance across your eyes and taste buds. 

I love my chili's so I add in the whole chili seeds and all but you can remove the seeds for a more sedate heat or leave the chili out altogether and just enjoy the flavors of the garlic and tomatoes together, it's still a winning combination.

The Parmesan on top is also optional. Don't be too heavy handed if you add it as you don't want that sharpness of the dish to overpower everything, you just want a little zing to finish off your bakes. Same for the parsley to finish, you just want a little sprinkle if you use it to give a fresh herby burst of flavor but not overwhelm the overall taste of the dish.

Here is the recipe. This will be enough to serve as a side for 4 people or as a main for 2. Make sure you have a large oven proof dish to hand that you think hold everything in and leave a 1cm gap from to avoid the sauce bubbling over. Around a 25cm square should do the trick!

Tomato And Aubergine Bake

8 Medium Sized Plum Tomatoes
3 Grated Garlic Cloves
1 Diced Whole Chili
Salt And Pepper To Season
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Aubergine Sliced Into Half Cm Slices
A Good Grating Of Parmesan
Small Handful Chopped Parsley Leaves

  1.  Oven straight on to 200 degrees (180 fan). No Messing!
  2. Place the tomatoes, garlic, chili and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor and whiz until a fresh tomato sauce has formed. Leave a bit of chunk in there for texture. Taste and season some more if you feel it needs it.
  3. Brush the base and sides of your oven dish with some olive oil and then layer the base with a single layer of aubergine slices. Spoon over some of the tomato sauce until the aubergines are covered and then top with another layer ofaubergine. Spoon on more sauce and repeat until you use all the aubergine slices and finish with a top layer of tomato sauce. 
  4. Grate over the parmesan to cover the top of the bake with a thin layer and then place in the oven to bake for 40-45 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parsley to finish.
The bakes are served best hot straight out of the oven so make sure that you get them straight to the table and enjoy the smell of that molten hot tomato sauce (be careful with your first bite!). Make sure you have lots of warm crusty bread to mop up all the leftovers too! 

You may see other recipes for Melanzane alla Parmigiana that add additional herbs and cheeses into the mix but I think by sticking to the true spirit of the island of keeping it fresh and simple your in for a much more Sard-sesional dinner time.

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