I created this dish in one of those ‘stare blankly in the fridge’ moments. It was the end of the month and I only had fish left in the freezer and an aubergine, some parmesan and mozzarella. So I decided to experiment a bit and it turned out beautifully. Ive made it twice now and my family love it !
6 frozen hake fillets
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
1 fresh lemon, sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
2 medium carrots, grated
1 cup red wine
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tin tomato puree
2 Tbsp Banditos sauce (or other chili sauce that you like) – optional
1 handful fresh basil (leaves only, finely chopped)
1 Tbsp sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
1 large aubergine (eggplant)
Olive oil or peanut oil to fry
2 or 3 balls of buffalo mozzarella (you can use normal mozzarella)
100g fresh parmesan cheese, freshly grated
A sprinkle of origanum to garnish
– Preheat your oven to 200 C
– Line a baking tray with foil and place the frozen hake fillets onto the tray. Sprinkle with a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper and a slice of lemon on each fillet. Bake for about 10 minutes until nearly done. Take out of the oven and set aside.
– Turn the oven down to 180 C
– While the fish is in the oven you can start your tomato sauce. Fry the onions in about 2 tbsps olive oil and once they soften a bit add the carrots and fry for a minute and then add the red wine. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes.
– Add the fresh tomatoes and the tomato puree, sugar, salt and pepper and then simmer gently for about 30 – 40 minutes.
– While the sauce is simmering, prepare the Aubergine. Cut off the top end and the bottom end and then slice (about 5mm thick). Place the slices in a colander in an empty sink. Cover the slices with some coarse salt and leave like that for 30 minutes) This will draw out any bitter juices and is a very important step.
– Once that is done. Rinse the slices under cold water and place on some paper towel to get rid of any excess water.
– In a frying pan, heat about 3 – 4 Tbsp olive oil. When hot, add the aubergine slices and fry until beautifully golden. Place on paper towel to drain. You will have to do this in batches to avoid over crowding in the pan.
– Once the sauce has simmered form 30 – 40 minutes, Turn the heat off and wither use a hand blender or place it in a blender and blitz to make it smooth.
– In a large casseole dish, place most of the tomato sauce at the bottom and then put the fish fillets (without the lemon) on top of the tomato sauce. Then layer the fried aubergine slices on top of the fish.
– Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top of the aubergine and then a few more dollops of tomato sauce. Then cover with sliced mozzarella and a sprinkle of origanum.
– Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. If the cheese has not turned golden then grill it for a few minutes at the end watching it carefully.
– Serve with fluffy cous cous