Aubergine and Tomato Bake

Having spent years and years believing that I hated aubergines, you can imagine how pleased I was to discover, one day, that actually I rather liked them! One of the ladies I used to work with was famous for her spiced potatoes that she would bring to any buffet, and as they were so delicious I was easily persuaded to try her aubergine bake. Since then I have had Aubergine Parmigiana at Zizi, and really enjoyed that, but now we are being a little more frugal, I thought it would be the perfect time to recreate it at home.

So, for a relaxing Sunday evening, Carl and I cooked together. I preheated the oven to 180 oC whilst he sliced an aubergine in half, then into half-moons about 1cm thick. Whilst he griddled them, I made a tomato sauce. Into a little pan went some oil, a chopped onion and some lazy garlic. Then a tin of plum tomatoes, a squirt of tomato puree and a sprinkling of mixed herbs. A good stir with a wooden spoon broke up the tomatoes, and by the time the aubergine were all griddled, the sauce was lovely and thick.
Into each of two rectangular individual baking dishes, I spooned some of the sauce, then topped with a layer of aubergine. I then sprinkled over a little grating of cheddar, then the rest of the tomato sauce. After topping with some breadcrumbs and grated parmesan I baked it in the oven for 20 minutes, and served with some steamed broccoli.
The result was not an exact replica of the Zizi dish, but then I was not expecting it to be because I had made some deviations, but it was really tasty and I will definitely be making it again.
You could make it more filling with some red lentils in the tomato sauce, or some thinly sliced potatoes amongst the aubergine. Perhaps some roasted peppers or courgette would be nice too. You could also sprinkle some pine nuts over the top, or instead, make a white sauce for the topping.
Enjoy!
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