Dr Kaye Gersch PhD
good quality pasta sauce, preferably home-made - about 4 cups
I packet French lentils (375 gms) - the little puy lentils are the best!
4 or 5 eggplant, depending on size
4 eggs, beaten
300-400 gms plain yogurt (Mungalli Greek is the best I know, available in Queensland)
pepper and salt
grated parmesan or pecorino
- Cook the lentils by covering well with water, bringing to the boil and simmering for about 20 mins, or until very tender. Puy lentils have the advantage of still holding their shape even when cooked till tender. If using brown lentils, soak overnight and simmer till tender. Drain very well through a sieve or colander. You can use the strained liquid as a soup base.
- Slice the eggplant, then brush, spray or rub lightly with olive oil on both sides, lay in a single layer on baking trays covered with baking paper , and bake in the oven at about 200 degrees C, till cooked through. This takes about 15 mins, depending on how thickly you have sliced the eggplant. They should be browned and soft all the way through.
- Remove eggplant, reduce heat to 180c.
- Combine the cooked lentils with the pasta sauce and simmer on low heat, making sure that it is not too moist.
- Cover the base of an ovenproof dish (approx 26 cm square and 6 cm deep*) with eggplant, then half the lentils and pasta sauce mix, then another layer of eggplant, the rest of the lentil mix, then eggplant, ie 3 layers of eggplant.
- Place in 180C degree oven till very well heated through, then add the topping.
- For the topping, beat the eggs lightly, add salt, pepper and yogurt, and pour over the eggplant. Top with the cheese and bake at 180 degrees, for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden. If you have a top element in your oven, you could use this to help the top brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 15 mins, before cutting and serving.
- NOTE: You can prepare the lentils, eggplant, and topping before hand, and keep in the fridge. Then assemble it, and heat in the oven without the topping for about 30 mins. Then add the topping and finish cooking - the top should be set and browned but not burned. Putting the topping on last prevents the top from overcooking, while making sure that it is well heated inside.
- NOTE: The tomato sauce needs to be well-salted, because the lentils are not.
- NOTE: These quantities are approximate. It is a very flexible recipe which can easily be expanded or contracted as needed.
- * This recipe is easily adapted to various sized dishes, so work out exactly what quantity works for ovenware that you already have, and the number of people you are serving. Use the quantities given here as a guideline to get started.
Eggplant at its best will be firm and shiny. without blemishes.
I often prepare this dish for lunch for workshops. Any leftovers are great for a family meal. The richness of flavour will depend on the quality of your tomato sauce.