Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Provencal Eggplant Gratin with Orange-Tomato Sauce

Kitchen Play List:   Martina McBride ~ Be That Way
                                   Chris Cornell ~ Your Soul Today
                                   Prince ~ Cream
                                   Muse ~ Undisclosed  Desires
                                   Melissa Etheridge ~ If I Wanted To
                                   Melissa Etheridge ~ Threesome
                                   Shakira ~ Don't Bother
                                   Audioslave ~ Illunnut

In my constant endeavour to come up with ways of making Eggplant/Aubergine more appealing to me, I have today made Provençal Eggplant Gratin with Orange-Tomato Sauce. It is from the very interesting cookbook The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchenby Donna Klein. This was one of the first cookbooks I bought when I became vegan and it still gets a lot of use today. 

This recipe appealed to me because I had recently had properly baked eggplant and not the seemingly half baked eggplant you get in restaurants and ready meals. And really enjoyed it. The sauce, that it's baked in the second time, intrigued me. The mix of tomato, veggies and orange sounded so tasty I knew I had to make this today. And it smells and looks delicious and was so easy to make. I've adapted it slightly to suit our tastes...

Provencal Eggplant Gratin with Orange-Tomato Sauce
(Recipe from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen/ D.Klein)

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion (10oz), chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 14oz tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp orange peel
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sugar
2 medium eggplants (24 oz) sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs 
chopped fresh basil and olives to garnish (optional)  

Preheat the oven to 475'F/245'C/Gas Mark 9. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spread out the eggplant slices on them. Using 1 tbsp of oil brush the tops of the eggplant slices. Cover each sheet tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Then take them out and remove the foil and allow to cool. reduce the oven temperature to 425'F/220'c/Gas Mark 7

In a skillet heat 1 tbsp of oil and add the chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring, until softerned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bayleaf, orange peel, sugar and season with salt and pepper to your taste. Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thickened and the liquids are greatly reduced, about 20 minutes. 

Remove the bayleaf from the sauce and spoon the mixture into a food processor or blender and blitz until pureed. Stir the chopped fresh basil into the puree and set to one side. 

In a shallow baking dish, spread one third of the orange-tomato sauce ove rthe bottom. Arrange half the eggplant slices over the sauce, then top with another one-third of the sauce, then top with another one third of the sauce. Arrange the remaining eggplant slices over the sauce then cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the top evenly with the breadcrumbs, then season with salt and pepper. 

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Serve hot, garnished with fresh basil leaves and olives, if desired.