Tuesday 20 August 2013

The tomato salad that turned into an aubergine bake

You'll have to allow me the pleasure of crowing about this dish - a rescue remedy for a leftover tomato salad.

I'd always taken the view that salads were unrescuable. Of course you could finish off the leftovers but not turn them into anything else. Or nothing that my husband would eat anyway, having an aversion to cold soups like gazpacho.

But we had so much left over I couldn't bring myself to throw it away so I tipped it into a pan and just simmered it until it took on a jammy consistency. And you know what? It didn't taste bad.

I then decided to use up another couple of leftovers - a couple of aubergines and some Comté to make an aubergine bake which would have actually fed 4 at a pinch, certainly three but the two of us scoffed the lot. Here's roughly how it was done

2 medium sized aubergines
About 300g leftover tomato salad cooked down to a sauce or homemade tomato sauce made from 1 onion cooked in a little oil until soft,  1-2 crushed cloves of garlic and 1/2 a 400g can of chopped tomatoes
Any stray herbs - I had a bit of fresh basil
About 4-5 tbsp olive oil
75g-100g Comté, Gruyère, or other leftover cheese plus a little parmesan if you have some
Salt and pepper

Cut the stalk off the aubergine and slice into 4 lengthways. Salt generously and set aside for half an hour or so. Cook down the tomatoes or make a simple tomato sauce - or even use a jar of pasta sauce if you have one knocking around that needs using up. Add a bit of extra garlic and chopped herbs if you like.

Rinse the aubergines and pat dry with kitchen towel. Heat a couple of tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan and fry half the aubergine slices until browned, turning them a couple of times. Press them against the sides of the pan as you remove them to let as much oil run out as possible and repeat with the remaining aubergines. Warm through the sauce and adjust the seasoning.

Heat the oven to 200°C. Lay half the aubergines in a shallow dish and top with half the sauce and grated cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, finishing with some grated parmesan if you have some. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes and bingo - there's your parmigiana. (Actually, you might want to flash it under the grill for an extra-crisp topping and grate over a bit more parmesan to serve. Oh, and a green salad on the side wouldn't go amiss.)

What's your most triumphant use of leftovers?


Sarah said...

I don't know about most triumphant, but one success I had only this weekend concerned chickpeas.

I had read rave reviews on baked spicy chickpeas as a healthy snack, so made some for a picnic using paprika and chilli powder. I made two large tins-full so there were a lot.

Basically they didn't live up to expectations and I came back with roughly what I'd gone out with. Not wanting to chuck them out, I put them in the food processor with some water to rehydrate them a bit, olive oil, garlic and salt and whizzed them until they were small grains.

They came out very successfully and I've been using them like dukkah, sprinkled on salads and as an extra ingredient in a bruschetta with tuna, seaweed and mayonnaise. I could probably add them to yoghurt to make a dip too, and as a form of falafel.


Fiona Beckett said...

@sarah Oh, well done! That's exactly the sort of thing I love doing. Was beginning to think from the absence of comments that readers actually disapproved of such rescue strategies so it's good to hear you do it too!

Sarah said...

The burgers came out very well, and we had the leftovers crumbled in a wrap the next day.