Aubergine and chard gratin
Sunday 02 August 2009
11/2kg/3lb aubergines, sliced into half-inch rounds
Sea salt and black pepper
Enough olive oil to shallow-fry
40g/11/2oz unsalted butter
1kg/2lb ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
400ml/14fl oz crème fraîche
1 tbsp chopped tarragon, leaves only
1 bunch basil, leaves only, torn
60g/21/2oz grated Parmesan cheese
1 bunch of chard, prepared as far left
Lay the aubergine slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave to degorge the bitter juices for 30 minutes then pat dry with kitchen paper. Now heat a 1cm depth of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Fry the aubergine a few slices at a time, until golden-brown on both sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
In a separate pan, heat the butter gently. Add the chopped tomatoes and garlic and season with a good pinch of salt. Cook over a low heat for 15 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. Meanwhile, place the crème fraîche into a small pan and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Allow to bubble and reduce by a third. Take off the heat and add the tarragon and basil. Add half the Parmesan and taste for seasoning.
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Line the bottom of a large, oven-proof baking dish with aubergine, follow with a layer of chard and then a thin layer of the tomato sauce and a little crème fraîche. Continue to layer, finishing with the aubergine, pour over whatever crème fraîche is left and sprinkle over the Parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden-brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving
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