Torte di Melanzane (Aubergine Cake)

Frank Bordoni adds a spicy dressing to an Italian aubergine dish, creating a distinctive and stylish vegetarian starter
By Frank Bordoni
Torte di  Melanzane  (Aubergine Cake)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 5-10 mins infusing
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

Main:

  • 3 aubergines
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • juice of half a lemons
  • Handful of mixed salad leaves

For the tomato and chilli dressing:

  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 1 green chilli, seeded and sliced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • pinch of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 limes
  • salt

Tips and Suggestions


This can also be served as a pate or a dip:

· For the pate: puree the ingredients (minus the sliced, stack of aubergine), place in a ramekin and refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve with toast.

· For the dip: puree the ingredients (minus the sliced, stack of aubergine), serve warm with corn chips and pitta bread.

Method

1. Wash and dry the aubergines. Slice one into rounds.

2. Lay the aubergine slices on a grill tray, brush with two tablespoons of olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

3. Grill until golden and cooked through, around 6-8 minutes.

4. Place the two remaining aubergines whole under a hot grill, and allow to 'roast' until they appear to burn and blacken on the outside and are soft and tender inside when pierced with a knife (approximately 20 minutes). If you have a gas hob you can try 'roasting' them over a naked flame to give a really strong smoked flavour.

5. Set aside the roasted aubergines to cool. Once cool, peel the roasted aubergines and roughly chop the flesh

6. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add the garlic and onion and cook on a medium heat until soft, around 3 minutes.

7. Add the roasted aubergine flesh to the pan and fry for 2 minutes.

8. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.

9. To make the dressing, mix together the tomatoes, chilli, shallot, cumin and coriander. Add the olive oil and lime juice, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

10. Set the dressing aside to stand for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse together.

11. To assemble, place a ring mould in the centre of a plate, line the bottom with the slices of grilled aubergine then top with the roast aubergine mixture. Continue with alternate layers of the grilled and roast aubergine, until you have filled the mould, finishing off with a round of the sliced grilled aubergine.

12. Remove the mould and top with the salad leaves. Spoon the dressing around and serve at room temperature with grilled flatbread.

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