This is one of my all time favourite vegetarian dishes. I found a recipe quite a few years ago when I was looking for ideas for Meat free Mondays and it caught my eye. My family claimed they didn’t like eggplant but they devoured every last morsel.
My fiancee is one of the fussiest eaters I know and not long after being together I got him to try this and this has become his favourite vegetarian dish also! This was also the first dish I made where I learnt to make my very own bechamel sauce.
I’ve adapted the recipe over the years and have found myself sticking to this one. Hope you enjoy!
- 4 free range eggs, whisked
- 2 medium eggplants, sliced 5mm thick
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 700ml passata
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- Pinch chilli flakes (optional)
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- Small bunch of fresh basil
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1 tablespoon of butter (14g)
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- 2 cups milk
- Handful shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup parmesan
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup mozzarella
- Sprinkle some salt onto the eggplant slices and let sit for 15 minutes to draw out some moisture. For the tomato sauce, in a pot over a medium heat, add a bit of olive oil and add the onion, sprinkle a pinch of salt over the onion (this keeps the onion from sticking and burning) and cook till it softens. then add the garlic, chilli flakes, passata, tomatoes, a few leaves of fresh basil and a tsp of caster sugar and bring to a boil, then simmer till it reduces slightly, about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºc. Wipe any moisture off the eggplant slices. Dip into the egg, then bread crumbs, repeat with remaining eggplant. Place in a single layer on 2 baking trays lined with baking paper and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until crisp.
- For the bechamel sauce, in a medium pot over a medium low heat, melt the butter until it starts to bubble, then add the flour and cook for about 30-60 seconds to cook off the floury taste. Add about half the milk and give it a whisk to get rid of any lumps, then add remaining milk and whisk again. Let this simmer for about 5-8 minutes or until thickened (but not too thick). Add your cheese gradually and mix through till all melted in. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a baking dish, spread a layer of tomato sauce onto the bottom, then a single layer of eggplant and repeat until out of sauce and eggplant. On top pour over the bechamel sauce and sprinkle on a couple of handfuls of mozzarella.
- Bake at 200ºc for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.