This has been such a hit amongst my friends that I just had to feature it again. I served it with a Prime Rib Roast and potato bake with mushrooms – all in all a huge success.

I had the most incredible Melanzane at Fournos in Benmore the other day that was everything a Melanzane should be, Creamy eggplant layered with tomato and topped off with a nice crust of Parmesan. It was so delicious I had to go back and get another helping. Well here it is folks, the most awesome Melanzane Parmigiana you will ever have. You can have this as a meal on it’s own with a bit of French loaf and a side salad for a brilliant vegetarian meal or as a vegetable with your meat. You will need an oven dish that is about 22x20cm and about 6cm high. Makes 4 -6 portions.

What you need

2 large cloves garlic sliced
2 400g tins chopped peeled tomatoes
2 large egglants sliced (or 3 smaller ones)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

The process

First off heat your oven to 180 Celsius.

Next put a small pot on the stove on medium to low heat and place both tins of tomatoes into the pot, stir and then leave to simmer while you prepare the eggplants.

Chop the ends off your eggplant and slice into 1-2cm thick pieces lengthways so you have these long strips of eggplant.

Place a generous amount of Olive oil into a pan on a medium heat and fry the garlic, remove and add to the tomato sauce. Now fry the eggplant slices until lightly golden on each side. Place on kitchen paper to drain. This should take about 3 minutes per side and is important not to rush, you want nice creamy eggplant.

While these are cooking stir and taste the tomato sauce adding a little salt and pepper to taste (I also add about 1 teaspoon of sugar which really does the trick). You want to reduce the liquid and have the tomatoes still a little chunky but soft and a thickened sauce. Toss in the basil leaves ripping them as you put them into the sauce.

Now take your oven dish and spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, then cover with eggplant and another slightly thicker layer of sauce. Sprinkle over a small amount of Mozzarella and then repeat the process until you have used up all of the eggplant. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top, sprinkle the last of the Mozzarella and then top off with every last piece of the Parmesan.

make sure you have a nice layer of Parmesan covering the top.

Place in your oven for about 40 minutes until you have a bubbling cheesy crust that has a little of the tomato sauce oozing through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. This lets the cheesy crust harden a bit which makes all the difference.

Double or trebble this recipe with no problem at all!