- 2 Eggplants (large)
- 8 Tomatoes (halved and quartered)
- 6-8 Garlic Cloves (peeled)
- 4 White Onions (quartered or rough chopped)
- 5 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs (pull rosemary off stalk)
- 5 Fresh Oregano Twigs
- 1 Heaped tablespoon of pulled fresh thyme leaves
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Salt to Taste
- Crushed Black Pepper
- Fresh Mozzarella
Prep: 15 minutes
Cooking: 60 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 210°C. Halve and quarter your tomatoes and set on a baking tray. Peel the garlic cloves and place above the tomatoes. Do the same with the quartered white onions. Sprinkle on all the fresh herbs. Add salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- Generously drizzle extra virgin olive oil all over the tomatoes, onions and garlic. About 4 tablespoons. Put it in the oven. It will take 40-55 minutes to roast (depending on your oven).
- By the thirty-minute mark check it every 5-7 minutes. You are looking for a nice char on the tomatoes, onions and garlic. Once this is achieved, you can take it out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, slice the eggplants lengthwise about an inch thick. Generously salt the slices over a strainer and let sit for 15 minutes so that the salt may draw out extra water.
- After 15 minutes, wash them thoroughly and pat them dry with a paper napkin.
- In a sauté pan, heat two teaspoons of olive oil on medium to high heat.
- Start pan grilling the eggplant slices. Again, you are looking for a nice char, so don’t be afraid to let the slices cook on one side before flipping them around. Each slice should take around two minutes to cook. Remember to lightly salt the slices whilst grilling. (Feel free to add two teaspoons of olive oil for each round of slices being grilled).
- Back to the tomatoes. Once your tomatoes are out of the oven (leave the oven on!), transfer everything to a blender jar, and blend into a sauce. Boom. The sauce is ready. Adjust for seasoning, if required. (Don’t be afraid to get all the juices, oils and burnt onion and garlic bits on the baking tray into the blender – it’s imperative for more flavour!).
- Grab your baking dish. Now you layer first with a smearing of sauce in the bottom of the dish, then evenly layer slices of eggplant. Another layer of sauce and then a generous crumbling of fresh mozzarella all over. And then the sliced eggplants on top again. Repeat the layering until you reach the rim of the baking dish. Another generous crumbling of mozzarella for the top layer. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and it goes back in the oven at 210°C for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese has gratinated.
- Take it out of the oven and cool for at least 15 minutes. (You may have to fight the urge of tucking in right away but this will let everything set better, and will prevent the parmigiana from being too wet, given the high moisture content of fresh mozzarella). 15 minutes later, bon appétit!