Tonight is Baking With Gab’s first ever savoury dish! While I find sweet things much easier to make photograph, I can’t continue to bake only sweet things. I come from a family of five and we have an open door policy – which means we often have seven or more for dinner. So really, I should help out with dinner instead of just cooking cupcakes all the time.
But where’s the fun in that??
I will try to post a few savoury dishes in amongst my sweet-tooth-driven adventures – I’ll start with a deliciously simple eggplant lasagne.
It’s almost-vegetarian because I had intended to use no meat in this recipe. Intentions are all very well, but in a male-dominated household, non-meat-intentions don’t win you any friends. I compromised and put leftover bolognaise mince in. This can be substituted for tomato sauce and it will be wholly vegetarian!
- 2 eggplant
- 1 cup plain flour
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups dried breadcrumbs
- Leftover bolognaise mince (I had about six cups worth)
- 6-8 lasagne sheets
- 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
- 80g butter
- 4 tablespoons plain flour
- 2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup grated tasty cheese
Slice your eggplant as thinly as you can. My dexterity with a knife meant that my eggplant slices ranged from 2-5mm. It honestly doesn’t matter how uniform they are.
Get out three plates and a bowl. Put the flour on one plate, breadcrumbs on another and crack the eggs into a bowl, then whisk them. Organise your bowls so that the flour is followed by the egg, then the breadcrumbs, then the empty plate. This is your crumbing station.
I have great memories of my brothers, mum and I crumbing chicken for schnitzel. It takes a bit of extra time, but it’s actually really fun. You have to be prepared to get messy – if you can rope others into helping you it’s good entertainment! Coat your eggplant slice in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and place them on the empty plate. If you’re doing this alone, try to flour all your eggplant in one go, then do the egg and crumbs once they’re all floured. This saves slightly on the mess.
Only slightly though! I ended up with very crumby fingers, despite my best attempts to stay clean…
Pour about 1cm of oil into a pan over a medium heat and allow it to warm up briefly before you put the eggplant in. Toss in as many of your eggplants will fit and shallow fry them for two minutes on both sides. You’ll have to do this in about five batches. Remove them when they’re golden and transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen paper to soak up excess oil.
Meanwhile, make the béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly for two minutes until the mixture is smooth. Add your milk, one cup at a time and your cheese. Keep mixing as it bubbles away for about five minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat just when it starts to bubble. Leave to one side.
Preheat the oven to 220°C and grease a lasagne dish. Mine is 30cm x 22cm x 4cm and this recipe fits perfectly in it. Line the base of the dish with half of the eggplant slices, overlapping slightly and top with half of the lasagne sheets. Spoon over half of your leftover bolognaise mince, then repeat once more. Top with béchamel sauce and a sprinkling of cheese.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, then serve to the hungry masses. This recipe will easily serve 12.