Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Goodbye to Dylan and melanzane parmigiana

So this week we say goodbye to our first work experience student. The guy in question was Dylan Robson, after whom we named the menu, and who was a real help in the kitchen. He’s also a vegan, which, given that most of this menu is vegan, meant that he was a real help, understanding the need for vigilance in the kitchen. Unfortunately you have to be kitchen fit for this job and I think the toll started to be taken on Friday. Tuesday is our prep day, and that went well, but Thursday is when the hammer really goes down, 11 hours pretty much on your feet the whole time. I forget that I used to struggle with foot and calf issues when we first started and at first interpreted the leg-lifting as a new dance, but it was fatigue. So, world cup still having an effect on bookings, we gave him the night off on Saturday. To say thank you, here is the recipe for melanzane parmigiana.

Tomato sauce.

Sweat an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic in plenty of olive oil. Once softened turn up the heat and when bubbling add a slosh of red wine vinegar and a couple of teaspoons of sugar (they should be about the same in volume). This is a gastrique and is normally cooked separately and then added, but who wants to wash all those pans. Once this has reduced but left the slight sweet-sour taste, add a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes or some passata. Cook out for a minimum of twenty minutes.

Aubergines: slice to about 0.75 cm and brush both sides with oil. Season and place in the oven at 190C on a rack to brown. If you want both sides brown, you’ll need to turn them over. If you feel very cooky today, then instead of roasting you can pat with flour, then cover with egg and fry in a little oil. Either way, allow to cool.

Mozzarella, vegan or otherwise, sliced, and plenty of it. Parmesan, vegan or otherwise, grated and plenty of it. My favourite herb for this is dried basil, but you can use fresh. (vegan parmesan, equal quantities of ground sesame seeds and nutritional yeast flakes)


In a nice oven proof dish, place a layer of tomato sauce in the bottom, cover with slices of aubergine (you can do this with courgette as well, especially if you’ve let a couple get too big), season, herb and then cover with mozzarella and parmesan. Keep layering until you’ve filled your dish, finishing with a layer of tomato and covered in cheese. Bake in the oven at about 170C until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and coloured.
Dylan very kindly also brought us some vegan cheesecake to eat, which I am currently taking with my tea.

Cheers Dylan, thanks for your help and we hope you had fun and maybe learned a thing or two.



1 comment:

  1. I learnt loads thanks :) and have already tried the melanzana although it was slightly different because I didn't know the timings and things. I had a really good time and am glad I got the opportunity .