Thankfully, I have since discovered its glory when cooked well. Whenever I go to one of the large gatherings of my in-laws, there is always one dish that I can count on to be served: aubergine slices in tomato sauce, a family favourite. So when I was leafing through our new slow cooker cookbook, this recipe caught my eye due to its similar list of ingredients. I liked the idea of adding the courgette (zucchini) as a way of making the dish slightly less heavy, and knew that anything with a parmesan breadcrumb topping had to be good.
The list of ingredients was relatively simple, though very out of season in January:
First I sliced up the aubergines for their first cooking. The recipe suggested doing this in a pan, but I find it easier to grill them (that's "broil" if you speak American). So after a good spread of oil I put them in the oven and went off to check facebook.
Unfortunately, I didn't set the timer loud enough, and one of my friends had posted this link: http://jezebel.com/here-is-tina-fey-and-amy-poehlers-golden-globes-openin-1499934914
So, HILARIOUS as that was, it was also too long of a clip to watch when cooking aubergines. So my first batch was a bit, er, caramelized and crispy.
But it was worth it...so many good lines...I think the George Clooney one is my favourite.
I threw out the worst ones, but hoped the others would be ok if I just stuck them at the bottom of the slow cooker dish. *Spoiler alert* They were.
Then on went a layer of courgettes.
Then I remembered I was supposed to be seasoning each layer.
Then some garlic went in.
Then some chopped tomatoes. I like baby plum tomatoes for pretty much everything tomato related.
Then another layer...
And so on...
On went the lid.
After 4 hours on low, I lifted the lid. Every time I use the slow cooker I feel like I'm checking lab results in science class.
It smelled good and a quick poke looked positive as well, so I wrote up the results in my lab book. Then I scattered basil over the top and then served it alongside some left over roast chicken and a green salad.
There were no survivors.
Well, the kids weren't crazy about it BUT it did mean that they ate their chicken and had two servings of salad each, so I figure that was a parental win. And they did try it.
Now where are some more clips of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler...
BAKED AUBERGINE WITH COURGETTE
(adapted from The Slow Cooker:A Celebration of the Slow Cooker)
2 large aubergines
olive oil for brushing
2 large courgettes, sliced
nearly a whole pack of mini plum tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
15g dry breadcrumbs
15g grated Parmesan
1 tsp or so of oregano
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Cut the aubergines into thin slices, brush with copious quantities of oil and grill/broil until soft and brown, then drain on paper towels.
Layer aubergines in the slow cooker with courgettes, tomatoes, garlic and a touch of oregano, seasoning with salt and pepper between layers
Mix breadcrumbs with cheese and sprinkle over the top. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours
Garnish top with fresh basil and serve