Aubergine and mozzarella stacks
This is a great recipe for summer when aubergines are in season. It makes the perfect dish for a vegetarian barbeque.
Serve this recipe with a green salad. You will need to make the basil oil a week in advance.
Makes 8 stacks
- 2-3 large aubergines, cut into 1cm slices
- olive oil, for brushing
- 3 x 125g packets of mozzarella cheese, sliced to match the aubergines
- a small bunch of fresh basil, to serve
- basil oil, to serve
For the basil oil: (makes about 550ml)
- a large handful of fresh basil leaves, without stalks
- 500ml mild olive oil
For the sauce:
- 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 whole cloves of garlic
For the sourdough bruschette:
- 4 slices of Pugliese or robust-textured sourdough bread
- 1 whole clove of garlic
For the basil oil, blanch the basil leaves briefly, then put them into iced water. Pat dry on a tea towel. Put the oil in a food processor, add the basil and process for five minutes. Store in a jug in the fridge for a week. Strain the oil through muslin, then pour into a dry, sterilised bottle (you can sterilise it in a very hot dishwasher, or boil it in a pan of water for 10 minutes). Store in the fridge. It keeps for two months.
On the day of the barbecue, preheat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3. Brush the aubergine slices with oil and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, until beginning to soften. Meanwhile, mix the sauce ingredients together with a good pinch of salt in a saucepan and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes, until the sauce is thick and rich. Remove and discard the garlic cloves.
Soak eight wooden skewers in water for about 20 minutes while you get the fire going, or use rosemary sprigs as skewers, as shown here. Spread the aubergine slices with a little tomato sauce,
then stack them up, alternating them with mozzarella slices – three to four slices of each per skewer. Push a skewer or rosemary sprig through each stack. Place on a griddle over the fire until the stacks are heated through and the cheese is beginning to melt.
Meanwhile, make the bruschette. Toast both sides of the bread on the griddle. While the bread is still warm, lightly scrape the garlic clove over one side, then drizzle with the basil oil. Serve the aubergine stacks scattered with torn-up basil leaves, and the bruschette alongside.