I had a beautiful brinjal and a heap of courgettes which I had bought at the City Bowl Market on Hope street and was I craving a meal with some level of comfort. I felt like eating vegetables and dosing up on something nutritious, but a salad or steamed vegetables simply would not do.
So I gazed into my fridge to scrounge around for other ingredients and found some creme fraiche there. Bonus! I had a few tubs of roasted tomato sauce in the freezer, and my little herb garden is flourishing in my back yard, so this is what I used to make this simple vegetable dish. The measurements are fairly rough, it doesn’t really matter.
- 1 1/2 cups of brinjal chopped into medium / smallish cubes – I don’t ever bother salting / rinsing draining etc
- 1 1/2 cups courgettes cut into slices (I always cut them on the bias – it just looks better)
- 1 cup (and a bit) of ready made tomato sauce which I had made on a previous occasion and frozen. You could use a good quality jar pasta sauce or passata or tinned tomatoes (just increase the seasoning if you do)
- 4 Tbs creme fraiche (or cream)
- 2 garlic cloves – crushed
- small handful of fresh thyme leaves – stalks removed
- a few fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs – Once again at the risk of starting to sound like a domestic goddess, I had these on hand. Its more a result of living on my own and never being able to finish the bread, so I often just process leftover bread to a crumb, and then freeze in a large ziploc bag for future use.
- olive oil, a few glugs. I also used some chilli and smoked red pepper infused oil to add another flavour layer
- about 1/4 cup grated parmesan (pecorino or gruyere also work well)
- Salt and pepper
- dried chilli / smoked red pepper sprinke (I used some smoked dried chilli flakes and smoked red pepper) *Optional*
This is what I did to make this:
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (This is where my Solar Dom comes in very handy as it heats up in 5 minutes)
- Heat some olive oil in a large pan (I used the flavoured oil here) and lightly fry in batches, first the brinjal and then the courgette (about 5 minutes each)
- toss the semi cooked vegetables into an oven proof dish
- mix in the tomato sauce, creme fraiche, half the garlic, chilli / smoked red pepper, basil and half the thyme into the vegetables
- in a seperate bowl mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese, remaining garlic and thyme, another glug of olive oil and sprinkle this over the vegetable mix
- bake for about 30 – 35 minutes until bubbling and nicely browned
I love the crunchy texture of the crumb on top of the creamy tomato-ey vegetables. This is a perfect side dish to chicken, or served on its own as a quick and easy vegetarian meal.
Whether you call them aubergine, brinjal or eggplant, courgette or zucchini, I’m a bit of a sucker for these vegetables. Here are a few other dishes with them in: