Baked aubergines with tomatoes, tarragon and crème fraîche

Baked aubergines with tomatoes, tarragon and crème fraîche

By
From
A Year In My Kitchen
Serves
4-6

I love this dish because it sings of summer. Served just warm with nutty brown rice, garlicky yoghurt and a rocket salad on the side, it makes a lovely vegetarian supper. It also works really well with grilled or barbecued lamb.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg aubergines, trimmed
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, to shallow-fry
50g unsalted butter
1kg ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
400ml creme fraiche
2 tablespoons tarragon leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, plus extra to finish
1/2 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves, plus sprigs to garnish
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
50g parmesan, freshly grated
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Method

  1. Slice the aubergines into 1cm rounds. Lay in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt. Leave to degorge the bitter juices for about 30 minutes – beads of moisture will appear on the aubergine flesh. Before cooking, pat each aubergine slice dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Heat a 1cm depth of olive oil in a large, fairly deep frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the aubergine slices, a few at a time, until golden brown on one side, then turn and brown on the other side. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
  3. Melt the butter in another saucepan. Add the chopped tomatoes and garlic slices and season with a good pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
  4. Meanwhile, put the crème fraîche into a small pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Allow to bubble until reduced by a third, then take off the heat and add the tarragon, parsley, thyme and chives. Add half of the Parmesan and taste for seasoning.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the bottom of a large, shallow ovenproof baking dish with a layer of aubergine slices. Follow with a thin coating of the tomato sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Continue layering in this way, finishing with tomato sauce. Pour over the crème fraîche and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Leave the dish to sit for a few minutes to allow the flavours to get acquainted with each other.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for about 20–25 minutes until golden brown. Allow to stand for 5 minutes or so. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt. Scatter over some finely chopped parsley and thyme sprigs to garnish and serve… but not too hot!

Note

  • Aubergines are at their best during the summer months, although you can buy them throughout the year. Look for aubergines with firm, glossy skins that feel heavy in the hand.
Tags:
seasonal
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