Aubergine and mozzarella stacks

This rich dish from James Martin, combining chargrilled aubergine with buffalo mozzarella, makes a great vegetarian meal
By James Martin
Aubergine and mozzarella stacks
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Serves 4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

Main

  • 2 large aubergines
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest of
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 4 balls buffalo mozzarella, about 100g each

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 small fresh red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 ripe plum tomatoes
  • a good pinch of sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil and season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat a ridged griddle pan until you feel a good heat rising. Add the aubergine slices and char-grill for about 3 minutes on each side until softened. You need to do this in batches. Let the char-grilled aubergine cool.

2. Make the gremolata by mixing together the parsley, garlic, lemon zest and rosemary.

3. Cut the balls of mozzarella into 1cm slices. Divide the mozzarella and aubergine slices into 4 equal portions. Layer the slices alternately on a lightly greased baking sheet, sprinkling the gremolata and seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper between each layer, to make 4 stacks, 4-5 layers high, using the larger pieces for the bases and the smaller pieces on top.

4. Bake the stacks in the oven for about 15 minutes until the cheese just starts to melt.

5. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the shallot, chilli and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and seasoning. Cook for about 10 minutes until you have a thick sauce, stirring occasionally. Add the basil, then leave to cool. Transfer to a food processor or blender and process to make a purée. Reheat the sauce in a clean saucepan and keep warm.

6. Place each stack in the centre of a warmed serving plate with the sauce spooned alongside.

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