Moussaka I

A basic version of the more traditional Moussaka (moo-sah-kah) made with mutton, or lamb, tomatoes and aubergines and topped with a creamy sauce, this dish makes a filling lunch or dinner. Serve with a crisp green salad

1 lb. aubergines , sliced

1 tablespoon plus

1 teaspoon salt

1 oz. butter

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

1 large garlic clove, crushed

1 lb. lean lamb or mutton, minced

4 medium-sized tomatoes, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato puree

1 teaspoon dried thyme teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons flour

4 fl. oz. vegetable oil

10 fl. oz. bechamel sauce

2 egg yolks

1 oz. kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375 °F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C).

Place the aubergine slices in a colander and sprinkle over the tablespoon of salt. Set aside to degorge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized frying-pan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.

Add the meat, and fry, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes or until it is thoroughly browned.

Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, thyme, pepper and the remaining salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Dry the aubergine slices with kitchen paper towqls. Place the flour on a plate and dip the aubergine slices in the flour, coating them thoroughly and shaking off any excess. Set aside.

In a medium-sized frying-pan, heat 2 fluid ounces of the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add about one-half of the aubergine slices and fry them for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until they are lightly and evenly browned.

With a fish slice or spatula, remove the aubergine slices from the pan and set them aside to drain on kitchen paper towels. Fry the remaining slices in the same way, adding more oil to the pan as necessary.

Arrange half of the aubergine slices on the bottom of a deep sided large baking dish. Spoon over the lamb or mutton mixture and cover with the remaining aubergine slices. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, beat together the bechamel sauce and egg yolks. Pour the mixture over the aubergine slices in the dish, to cover them completely. Sprinkle over the kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese.

Place the dish in the centre of the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

Remove the dish from the oven and serve immediately. /i.-.’-‘tvvw