Aubergine Timbales

Aubergine Timbales (19)

My beloved mother is of rather a contradictory nature.  She hates aubergine, yet this is one of her favourite dishes.  Maybe she’s not contradictory so much as foolish:  this is a woman who said in December “I’m going to buy a chicken because I really fancy some turkey sandwiches”.  Indeed.

However silly she is, she is quite right to approve of this meal.  A few years ago I was home for the summer between jobs and rather than succumbing to bone idleness, I set myself the challenge of cooking a new recipe every day.  This was the most challenging thing I’d ever made at the time.  The mere mention of Gordon Ramsay terrified me, and the pictures of such a prettily presented dish looked miles out of my league.  Imagine my astonishment, then, when mine turned out just like the pictures.  It was a great achievement, and a dish that my mother occasionally requests for special occasions, and as Mother’s Day is fast approaching, it seems like the ideal moment to share it.  Be bold – it really is surprisingly simple to make.

Aubergine Timbales

Gordon Ramsay recipe, serves 6

Ingredients:

olive oil

2 large aubergines, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 courgette, finely chopped

6 shallots, halved and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

6 vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered

2 tbsp stoned black olives

1 tbsp capers

25g shredded basil leaves

25g grated vegetarian Parmesan

300g goats’ cheese, sliced into 12

200g baby leaf spinach

6 tbsp vinaigrette

50g pine nuts, toasted

Method:

Aubergine Timbales (1)

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1.  Pour in enough oil to cover the base of a large frying pan.  Fry the aubergine slices for 2-3 minutes until softened.  Season, then drain on paper towels – this will probably need to be done in batches.

Aubergine Timbales (2)

2.  For the filling, add 2-3 tbsp oil to the pan and fry the pepper, courgette, shallots and garlic over a high heat for 3-5 minutes.

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3.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook until evaporated.

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4.  Add the tomatoes, season, and cook for 3 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is softened but not too saucy.

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5.  Remove from the heat and mix in the olives, capers, half the shredded basil and all the Parmesan.  Set aside to cool slightly.  Preheat oven to 200C.

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6.  Grease 6 cappucino cups and line the bases with aubergine slices.

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7.  Top with the vegetable mixture, more aubergine slices, and two slices of goats’ cheese.

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8.  Repeat the layers one more, finishing with aubergine.  Press lightly.

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9.  Place the cups on a baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes, until bubbling.

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10.  Stand for a few minutes, then up-end one cup into the centre of each plate.  (I put the plate on top of the cup and turned it all upside down.)

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11.  Toss the spinach and remaining basil with the vinaigrette and seasoning, then divide between the 6 plates and scatter with pine nuts.  Ta da!

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