Baked aubergine with cheese

Serves 4
aubergines 4 large
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
ripe plum tomatoes 16
garlic oil 1 tbsp
sugar 1 tbsp
eggs 4 large, hard-boiled, cut into quarters
tuma (Sicilian fresh unsalted sheep’s cheese) or mozzarella 150g, cut into small cubes
fresh basil a bunch
caciocavallo or pecorino cheese 50g, grated

Cut the aubergines into slices lengthways, about 6mm thick. Sprinkle with salt and leave to drain in a colander for at least 2 hours. Squeeze lightly to get rid of the excess liquid.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and grease a baking dish with olive oil.
Put the tomatoes into a pan of boiling water for 10 seconds, then drain under cold water and you should be able to peel them easily. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon, and chop the flesh.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the garlic oil. When the pieces of garlic in the oil turn golden, add the tomatoes and cook until reduced to a thick sauce. Stir in the sugar and cook for a couple of minutes.

Heat about 2.5cm of olive oil in a pan and sauté the aubergine slices until they are golden and crisp. Lift out and drain on kitchen paper.

Spread a few tablespoons of tomato sauce over the base of the baking dish, then start to layer up the ingredients: begin with some of the aubergine, followed by some of the eggs, and the tuma or mozzarella. Scatter with some of the grated caciocavallo or pecorino. Spread some more tomato sauce over the top, add the basil and layer again as before. Finish with a layer of aubergine, and scatter with the last of the cheese.

Put the dish into the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes until heated through, and the cheese on top has melted and turns golden. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.