MsMarmiteLover's aubergines baked with a herby tomato sauce and mozzarella make the perfect family meal
For the tomato sauce
First make the tomato sauce. (Make it a day in advance if possible.) Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and the bay leaves, and season well with salt. Simmer for 1 hour. Set aside until needed.
Salt the aubergine slices lightly, then leave to sweat and drain in a colander for 30 minutes. You can weigh them down by putting a dish and tins of beans on top, which aids squeezing the bitter water from them. (If there is still a lot of water when you come to fry them, they will smoke up the kitchen, so drain well or dab dry with kitchen paper.)
Put a bowl of olive oil next to the hob. Aubergines soak up loads of oil and you will need it to hand. Heat up a frying pan with a generous amount of the olive oil. I also season the olive oil with some salt and pepper (and oregano or thyme, if you like). This is easier than trying to season the whole dish. Obviously take into account that the aubergines have already got some salt on them.
Coat your aubergine slices in flour, then gradually fry all the slices on both sides. This is hot work. Drink the red wine. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/gas mark 5. If using an Aga, you will cook the dish at the bottom of the roasting oven.
Put a thin layer of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Layer up the aubergine slices and pour the rest of the tomato sauce over them. Put some slices of mozzarella on the top and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake in the oven for 1 hour until brown and bubbling. Serve hot, cut into squares, with a green salad and more red wine.
The best chefs on TV and over 6,000 recipes