- 2 large aubergines, sliced 1cm/½in thick
- olive oil, for brushing
- 1 mugful of fresh flat leaf parsley
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, grated zest only
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 balls buffalo mozzarella about 110g/4oz each
- salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For the sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 small plump fresh red chilli, deseeded and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 8 ripe plum tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- good pinch of sugar
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Brush the aubergine slices with oil and season lightly. Heat a ridged griddle pan until you feel a good heat rising. Add the aubergine slices and chargrill for about 3 minutes on each side until softened. You need to do this in batches. Remove and leave to cool.
To make the gremolata, finely chop the parsley sprigs and mix with the garlic, lemon zest and rosemary.
Cut the balls of mozzarella into 1cm/½in slices. Divide the mozzarella and aubergine slices into 4 equal portions. Layer the slices alternately on a lightly greased baking sheet, sprinkling the gremolata and seasoning between each layer, to make 4 stacks, 4-5 layers high, using the larger pieces for the bases and the smaller pieces on top.
Bake the stacks in the oven for about 15 minutes until the cheese just starts to melt.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the shallot, chilli and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and seasoning. Cook for about 10 minutes until you have a thick sauce, stirring occasionally. Add the basil. Then leave to cool. Transfer to a food processor or blender and process to make a purée. Reheat the sauce in a clean saucepan and keep warm.
Place each stack in the centre of a warmed serving plate with the sauce spooned alongside.