Meander Valley Gazette

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Eggplant and Cucumber Moussagna

Joanne Eisemann

By Wai Lin Coultas

INSPIRATIONALLY MARRYING the veggie versions of moussaka and lasagna with what is in season in May in Tasmania yields a light, yet hearty, fresh veg-packed casserole just as deliciously savoury as these time-honoured Greek and Italian staples – perfect with a green salad for a healthy lunch, or as a side dinner dish with a slow cooked roast.

Ingredients

2 large eggplants, thinly sliced horizontally

2 large cucumbers, thinly sliced diagonally

extra virgin olive oil

120 g Cheddar, 24 months vintage, grated

80 g Parmesan cheese, grated

2 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves coarsely chopped

Mushroom sauce

200 g white button mushrooms, thinly sliced

330 g Portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 head purple garlic, peeled and minced

4 red onions, peeled and quartered

5 tbsp apple cider vinegar

24 anchovy fillets, removed from brine and coarsely chopped

1 x 680 g bottle tomato passata

4 tbsp Taste of TamO’Shanter Pickled Cucumbers, coarsely chopped

4 tbsp tomato ketchup

4 tsp ground cumin

4 tsp ground caraway

4 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced

30 fresh lemon verbena leaves, chopped

iodised salt

Method

Pre-heat oven to fan-forced 180C.

In batches, sauté eggplants and cucumbers in heated oil till softened and slightly browned both sides. Set aside.

To make the sauce, sauté onions in heated oil till softened, before adding garlic. Sauté till fragrant and onions are slightly caramelised.

In batches, add mushrooms and chillies.

Sauté till softened, add spices and continue to sauté till fragrant.

Stir in passata, ketchup, pickles, vinegar, anchovies and lemon verbena. Bring to a boil before seasoning with salt.

Brush inside of casserole dish with oil. First, lay one quarter of the eggplants then one quarter of cucumbers. Spread one third of sauce over.

Repeat layering sequence, finishing with a final layer of remaining eggplants and cucumbers before sprinkling over first Cheddar, then Parmesan.

Bake in oven for 1 hour till cheese topping is nicely browned and dish is bubbling.

Garnish with parsley when ready to serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Inspirationally marrying the veggie versions of moussaka and lasagna, moussagna yields a light,yet hearty, fresh veg-packed casserole.  Photo by Wai Lin Coultas

Inspirationally marrying the veggie versions of moussaka and lasagna, moussagna yields a light,yet hearty, fresh veg-packed casserole.

Photo by Wai Lin Coultas