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Aubergines Baked with Fresh Herbs, Cream & Tomatoes Recipe
An excellent dish, which can be served as a starter or as part of a buffet or smart barbecue than can be prepared ahead and served warm or at room temperature.
For 6 people:
4 medium-sized, firm aubergines, cut into ¾ ins/2cm slices
About 8 tablespoons (120ml) Olive Oil – perhaps a little more
2 oz/60gr Butter – plus a little extra for buttering the baking dish
10 large Ripe Tomatoes, blanched for a few seconds in boiling water, then skinned, de-seeded & roughly chopped
3 medium cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely-chopped
The grated Zest of 1 Lemon
A small bunch of a many of these Fresh Herbs as possible – Basil, Chervil, Chives, Marjoram, Parsley and Tarragon – washed, then finely chopped (perhaps 3 tablespoons of herbs in total)
¾ pint/400ml Double Cream
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper
Equipment needed: a Lasagne/Shepherds Pie-style oven-proof Baking Dish
1. Fry the aubergine slices in batches, over a medium heat, for about 1 minute on each side, rationing out the olive oil. The idea is for each slice to have changed colour and to have absorbed a little oil, not to cook the aubergines. Set these aside.
2. Melt the butter over a low heat in a wide frying pan, then add the chopped tomato flesh, along with the garlic and grated lemon zest.
3. Cook this very slowly for about 20 minutes – or unless you have a sloppy sauce.
4. Heat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC/Gas 4.
5. Lightly butter your chosen baking dish, then layer the aubergines (allowing them to slightly overlap). Cover each slice with a little of the tomato sauce.
6. Continue with another layer until you have use all the aubergines and tomato sauce – finishing with the latter.
7. Sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs evenly over the dish.
8. Carefully bring the cream to the boil in a saucepan, being careful as it tends to suddenly boil over.
9. Season this with salt and freshly-ground black pepper, then pour this over the aubergines.
10. Bake on the central shelf of the oven for about 25 minutes. Check that a sharp knife inserted meets little resistance – if it does, bake the dish for a further few minutes.
Serve hot, or later at room temperature – see above.