Charl’s Aubergine Surprise

This is what we thought up and constructed for dinner last night… it was divine. Thanks to Paul for suggesting the pancetta, it’s perfect for this dish.


  • one aubergine per person
    • one ball of fresh mozzarella per 2 persons
      • 60 g of pancetta per person (amazing italian bacon, you’ll have to get this from your deli)
        • chestnut mushrooms (I think this is what they’re called; in Dutch they’re called “kastanje champignons”) – obviously you can improvise if you can’t find these
          • onions
            • italian spices (oreganum, dried basil, etc), salt, freshly ground black pepper
              • basil pesto
                • rucola (aka rocket salad)
                  • fresh tomatoes
                    • fresh focaccia or other rough bread

                      • cut the aubergines into 1cm thick slices
                        • sprinkle with salt on both sides, allow to drain for 10 to 15 minutes
                          • whilst the aubergine slices are draining, lightly fry the chopped mushrooms and onions in good olive oil, season with spices, salt and pepper
                            • put the mushrooms and onions in a bowl when done
                              • lightly fry the pancetta in olive oil, remove when done
                                • fry the drained aubergine slices until they’re browned on both sides (and tasty!) – don’t be shy with the olive oil
                                  • on some tin foil, build little towers consisting of a layer of aubergine, some mushrooms and onion, some pancetta, another layer of aubergine, etc. End with mushrooms and onions as the top layer
                                    • put your aubergine building complex under the grill (200 degrees celsius or something) for 15 to 30 minutes, or until you feel that enough grilling has taken place :)
                                      • during the last 4 or 5 minutes of grilling, top each aubergine tower with a slice of the fresh mozzarella and a teaspoon (or more) of pesto; season generously with spices, salt and pepper – the cheese will melt and the cheese and pesto will form a lovely mixture slowly oozing down (hmmmm)
                                        • make a bed of rucola leaves and fresh sliced tomato in a plate
                                          • install your aubergine towers on this bed
                                            • serve with focaccia