Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Aubergine millefeuille

I get a bit stuck when veggies come for dinner. Especially gourmet ones like my friends Barney & Tam. I saw something similar to this cooked on TV years ago and always wanted to give it a crack. It's quite a light starter, which is great if you're serving 3 or 4 courses as it improves the chances of your guests enjoying the whole meal.


To serve 6

4 aubergines
a large handful of parsley
the juice of one lemon
1 clove of garlic, chopped
150ml olive oil


Slice two of the aubergines crossways - about 5mm slices. Generously salt the slices and place them in a colander with a tea towel on top and something underneath to catch the drips. Leave to stand for at least an hour (preferably two).

Fire up 2 gas hobs with a low-medium flame and place the other 2 aubergines directly over the flame. Keep moving them about until the skins are completely and evenly burnt. Fear not, the flesh will not burn, it will just pick up a lovely smokey flavour.

Allow to cool, peel and rinse (to remove the little bits of burnt skin). The flesh should be soft and cooked. If the middle is still hard, your flame was too high. Should this happen, cut the peeled aubergines in half and roast in a medium oven for another 20 mins or until soft.

Cube the cooked flesh and add to a food processor with most of the parsley, the juice of the lemon, the olive oil, garlic and a generous seasoning of sea salt and black pepper. Blend until smooth, taste for seasoning and set aside.

Rinse the salted aubergine slices and pat dry with kitchen roll. Brush the slices with olive oil and fry each one in a medium-hot griddle pan. The aim is to get the charred stripes while not overcooking the middle of the slices. You'll probably need to do them in batches.

Assemble the towers with alternate layers of fried slice, and puree dollop. You should aim for about 3 slices per portion. End with a small dollop of puree and garnish with a little parsley. Serve with the slices warm. The puree can be cooler without sacrificing the experience.