Gratin d’aubergines…sounds posh, doesn’t it? (why everything in French sounds posh and in Russian “rude”?! It is not fair!)
I am a cheese&aubergines freak. It is official. So what?
When I saw this Gratin d’aubergines recipe I first thought: “Oh, thats like parmigiana!” Almost. So I was curious to make it and compare with Parmgiana (evil plan hehe).
I know at least 2 people who will definitely want to try it ;-), so here is a step by step instruction:
Ingredients for 4 portions:
- 2-3 large aubergines
- 1 onion
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 3-4 big tomatoes or 600 gr of cherry tomatoes (I was cheeky and used a 700 gr. chopped tomatoes)
- 50-80 gr. Parmesan cheese
- 1 tb. spoon of tomato concentrate
- 1/2 tb sp of sugar (I use fruit sugar)
- salt, black pepper, olive oil
- a few basil leaves
- a bit of milk
- a medium size baking tray (approx 25 cm) If you have only a big tray you have to use more ingredients – accordingly.
1. Crush the garlic with the knife
2. Without taking the skin off, fry the garlic in olive oil. Add finely sliced onion (it must be sliced really “finely” because we expect it to dissolve in the tomato sause while cooking) and cook for 5-7 min.
3. Add tomatoes. Put the fire down and let the sauce simmer. The sauce must be “juicy” and rich at the same time.
4. Take the aubergines’ skin off. Slice them crosswise in 5-7 mm slices. Make a “net” with the knife on each slice, sprinkle with salt.
5. Cover the aubergines slices with a paper tissue and sprinkle with the a bit of milk. I know it sounds weird. But it will help to get rid of bitterness. Put them aside for 20 min till they start “weeping”.
6. Heat the pan with a bit of olive oil. Wipe the slices, sprinkle with some black pepper. Add 2 cloves of crushed garlic and aubergines to the hot pan.
7. Fry all of them adding more oil if necessary. This part is finished.
8. In a meantime your tomato sauce is almost ready. Just add 1 tb spoon of tomato concentrate, half tea spoon of sugar (to get rid of acidity) and cook for another 5 or more min on a very low heat. The liquid will evaporate and the sauce will be very rich, aromatic and full of flavours. The onion will almost dissolve, however I recommend to take the garlic cloves out as they are too big to dissolve.
9. Sprinkle the baking tray with olive oil. cover the bottom of the tray wih tomato sauce. Put 1 layer of aubergines on top. Sprinkle with the grated parmesan. Put a few basil leaves. (I used a fresh chopped basil with olive oil I always keep in the fridge)
10. Another layer of aubergines. Sprinkle with pamesan cheese again. Cover with tomato sauce. To do that you can use a separator:
Or if you are brave use the sauce as it is, with the onion and garlic which have already dissolved in your slowly cooked sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan.
Now! Put the dish in the 220 degrees oven for 10-15 until it gets this sexy look:
Ready to serve – as a side dish, starter or a main course!
So, what about the result of my experiment? Here you go!
1. Much lighter than Parmigiana. This is because in Parmigiana we deep fry the aubergines and in this gratin we just fry them in a moderate amount of olive oil. Also because we use less cheese.
2. This gratin is much easier and quicker to make (again because we skip the deep fry phase).
3. The taste is stronger thanks to Parmesan cheese, olion and garlic.
Watch HOW TO: