Roman Aubergine Hors d’Oeuvre

Aubergine slices, coated with breadcrumbs and baked, then topped with a rich tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese, Roman

Aubergine Hors d’Oeuvre will surely tempt your dinner party guests.

1½ oz. plus

1 teaspoon butter, melted

1½ oz. dry breadcrumbs

1 large aubergine , peeled, cut INTO ½ inch thick slices and degorged

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

14 oz. canned peeled tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat the oven to very hot 450°F (Gas Mark 8, 230°C). With the teaspoon of butter, grease a large baking sheet. Set aside.

To make the tomato sauce, in a medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the tomatoes with the can juice, the salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Stir well. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes or until it is very thick.

Meanwhile, place the remaining melted butter in a shallow dish and the bread-crumbs on a sheet of greaseproof or waxed paper. Dip each aubergine slice first in the butter and then in the breadcrumbs, coating them on both sides. Place the slices on the baking sheet and sprinkle over the salt.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the aubergine slices for 20 minutes or until they are tender and lightly browned.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Top each aubergine slice with a spoonful of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle over the oregano and Parmesan cheese.

Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and serve the hors d’oeuvrc immediately.

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