JUMP TO RECIPE -
This is a take on a vegetable parmigiana, which is throwing lots of Parmesan onto layers of pre-cooked veg. Really, really nice, even better when accidental, as in: sticking the contents of the fridge under the grill and sprinkling cheese over it.
Because it started as a side dish of grilled veg - very good in its own right too, but since I’d recently made a vastly popular aubergine parmigiana, had some leftover tomato sauce and a bit of time on my hands, this is what came out. I love those accidental dishes: I swear to God, the best things ever turn up on Friday nights when I just throw together random end-of-the-week things lounging in the fridge to use them up. Zucchini with cheese. Chili mushrooms in butter. Eggs poached in spinach. Green beans with cream (I’m dead serious). Really, I should be posting those rather than boring meatloaves. I’m the more inventive and adventurous the less I care.
This wasn’t supposed to be posted anyway, only halfway through I decided the colours were quite funky. It should definitely benefit from copious amounts of mozzarella but alas! all had gone to melanzane.
- 1 large fennel
- 1 large aubergine
- 100g cup mushrooms
- 1 large courgette
- 2-3 small fresh figs (optional)
- a knob of butter
- a tin of chopped tomatoes
- salt and pepper
- 3-4 tbsp. cream cheese or thick sour cream
- 50g grated Parmesan
Wash and trim the fennel and cut it vertically to about ½ cm thick slices. Slice the aubergine and courgette into discs of the same thickness, trim the mushrooms stalks and cut them across in halves. Slice the figs across into three or four pieces each.
Preheat a dry griddle or a large frying pan. Spray or brush all the vegetables with oil. Fry all in batches on both sides until slightly charred and soft.
Brush a large gratin dish with butter. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Place a layer of fennel at the bottom of the dish, season with salt and pepper, top with a third of the chopped tomatoes, a few dots of cream cheese or sour cream and a third of the Parmesan. Follow with a layer of aubergines, salt and pepper, tomatoes, cream and Parmesan and finish with courgettes and mushrooms plus the same toppings.
Throw the fig slices on top, if using. You can of course make four layers if you wish and have prepared enough vegetables.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until bubbling and crispy. Let it rest a few minutes before serving.