This meal is one of my family’s absolute favourites and it just so happens to come from a dear friend of mine’s cookbook, Naked Food, by the very funny and always entertaining Jane Grover. I make this meal at least every fortnight. The girls weren’t big fans of eggplant, but they are now. You can find Jane at The Beaches Market in Warriewood on the first Friday of the month. I have a bit of a cookbook gathering problem, but I have to say this is one of my favourite cookbooks. Jane has got everything covered for every occasion. I would make something out of her book every week. You can find Jane’s book in most good book & kitchenware stores otherwise please feel free to contact Jane from the information below.
EGGPLANT and BOCCONCINI BAKE
This is my gluten-free take on eggplant parmigiana, without the frying! It‘s a slow baked vegetarian sensation and is lovely served hot or cold, with mixed salad leaves. Serves 6.
What you need
3 large eggplants 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil ½ cup fresh basil leaves 2 cups (500ml) tomato sauce 100g bocconcini, sliced 100g parmesan, finely grated salad leaves, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, to serve
What you do
1. Preheat the oven to 180 deg c (160 deg C fan forced). Cut the eggplant crossways into 1cm thick slices. Slice eggplant into 1cm thick slices. Brush both sides of each slice with oil. Arrange the slices onto an oven tray, and bake for 30 minutes until tender.
2. Brush a 30cm x 18cm x 4cm deep (or similar with an 8 cup capacity) ovenproof dish lightly with oil. Arrange a layer of half the eggplant slices over the base, and top with half the basil leaves. Cover with half the tomato sauce, and top with the bocconcini slices.
3. Arrange the remaining eggplant into the dish, the remaining basil leaves. Cover with remaining tomato sauce, and sprinkle the parmesan over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top.
4. Serve hot or cold with mixed salad leaves, dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
bocconcini are small, semi-soft, white, rind less, unripened mild cheeses. They originated in Napoli the name is Italian for ‘small mouthfuls’. Once made only from milk of water buffaloes, nowadays they are usually made from a combination of water buffalo and cow’s milk. Each cheese is about the size, shape and colour of a hardboiled egg. Baby or mini bocconcini are smaller, about the size of a teaspoon. Bocconcini are sold packaged in whey or water and have a spongy texture which readily absorbs the flavours they are combined with. Bocconcini is often used in tomato and basil based salads and pasta dishes.
I’ll include Jane’s very tasty Tomato Sauce Recipe (also in her book)
This is a basic tomato sauce with can be made with a surplus of tomatoes in season. Out of season you can use half fresh and half canned tomatoes. It takes no time to make and you will find it useful for so many recipes. Great as a pasta sauce, or as a sauce base on pizzas.
Makes 4 cups
What you need
2 tbsp extra virgin oil 1 onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, halved 1kg tomatoes, diced seasonal fresh herbs of your choice pinch sea salt
What you do
1. Combine the oil, onion and garlic in a large saucepan, and cook for 2 minutes over medium het, stirring often.
2. Add the tomatoes, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Transfer to a large bowl and add herbs. Use a hand blender or upright blender to puree until smooth. Season to taste. Tomato sauce will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
©Jane Grover – Recipe from Jane’s cookbook ‘NAKED FOOD the way food was meant to be’ ~ www.janegrover.net ~
I actually use all the sauce in the bake as it’s so yummy. I also use the whole container of bocconcini just to save on throwing any out in case I don’t use up the whole lot – either way it’s still delicious.
Let me know what you think when you make it! Bon Appetit xx