Aubergine Cake is one of Chef Simon's signature recipes, and soon all of the ingredients will be in season and available at the market. Aubergine is French for eggplant, and you may have heard he recently changed the name of the restaurant at Sabor a Pasion to Restaurant Aubergine.
File this one away for summer when homegrown tomatoes, eggplants and fresh basil are at their peak of flavor. They all grow well in the heat and should be abundant at the farmers market. And don’t forget to pick up some Noonday Onions and enjoy all the fresh flavors from East Texas gardens.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, 1/4 inch slices
2 large eggplants, 1/4 inch slices
canola oil, for frying
6 large tomatoes, 1/4 inch slices
2 (8 oz.) logs fresh mozzarella, sliced
Olive oil and basil leaves for garnish
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, slowly sauté the onion slices in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft and caramelized but not browned, about 15 minutes. Place in a bowl and set aside.
In the same sauté pan add about 1/2 inch of canola oil. Heat to frying temperature and in batches fry the eggplant slices until slightly brown and a bit crispy. Lay the eggplant slices on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain.
Line a deep 9-inch cake pan with plastic wrap with plenty of excess plastic hanging over the sides. Begin layering in the following order – sliced tomatoes, sautéed onions, mozzarella, eggplant slices, another layer of tomatoes, more sautéed onions, cheese, eggplants and finally a last layer of tomatoes.
The warmth of the onions and eggplant melt the cheese and help everything mold together. Fold the plastic wrap up around the layers. Place a salad plate on top to press the layers down. Refrigerate for about four hours or overnight. Unwrap the plastic from the top. Place a large plate on top of the cake pan and turn over. Remove the cake pan and the plastic. Serve in slices with basil garnish and a drizzle of olive oil.
Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Estate & Vineyard a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.