Aubergines and meatballs (Maldoum al-batinjan)

Makes about 30 meatballs
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This Aleppino (Syrian) dish is simple, presents well and is very tasty.

This Aleppino (Syrian) dish is simple, presents well and is very tasty.

It makes an excellent main dish for the family and an unusual lunch on Sundays with friends. You can cook it in advance, then reheat before serving. It tastes even better the next day.

1 1/ 2kg medium-size aubergines, peeled and cut into 30 slices
sea salt
extra virgin olive oil
450g minced lamb
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1/ 4 teaspoon black pepper
6 medium red tomatoes, peeled and cut into 30 slices

Sprinkle the aubergine slices with salt and leave in a colander for an hour to draw out the water. Rinse, gently squeeze out the extra water and dry between kitchen paper. Brush with oil both sides and grill or fry until golden brown on both sides. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix thoroughly the lamb, salt and pepper. Take a small portion at a time and shape into a small, flattish ball. Repeat until the mixture is used up. Place the tomato slices in a large, round pan.

Top each piece of tomato with a meatball and then a slice of aubergine.

Repeat, arranging them in a spiral. Cover and cook over a medium or medium-low heat for 40-50 minutes, then turn the heat off and leave covered for five minutes. Serve hot with bread.