Meaty Melanzana

Melanzana is the Greek name for eggplant and growing up with a Cypriot heritage this is the kind of traditional meal my mum would cook for us. I remember as I got older and became more health conscious I’d beg my mum not to fry the eggplant off in so much olive oil and she’d tell me to be quiet and that olive oil was good for me!

When I started making it, to reduce the fat I’d lightly oil and herb the eggplant and BBQ instead to be “healthier”.

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I sent this photo to her today with the caption “Melanzana  cooked the way the Greeks intended!”… as always mum was right!

There’s no mistake why the Mediterranean Diet is considered to be one of the best diets in the world.

Their use of good healthy fats in the diet are the key to its success and not to mention this dish tastes about a thousand times better when the eggplant is prepared traditionally.

This one’s for you mum! xox

 

Serves 6-8 depending on your baking dish

2 Large Eggplants, sliced approx. 1cm thick

Olive Oil

Himalayan Salt

500g Minced beef

1 Brown onion, thinly diced

2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

Chilli, to taste

1 knob Butter, grass fed

1 tbs Italian herbs or Oregano

1 tbs Tomato paste

250ml Beef stock

1 can Organic crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup Tasty cheese

1/2 cup Mozzarella

 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees

Start with the melanzana

  1. Prepare the eggplant by sprinkling it with salt and let it sit for a about 5-10mins for it to sweat. This process removes the bitter taste that eggplant can sometimes get
  2. You can rinse it – I didn’t because I like salt!
  3. Liberally coat your pan with olive oil and put it on a medium to high heat
  4. Pop in enough eggplant to lay flat to cover the bottom of the pan
  5. Once it’s browned turn it over and I like to pop a lid on to soften them
  6. When ready remove and start with a new batch

You will notice that eggplant loves to absorb oil, so you may have to add more between each batch

Meat Sauce

  1. Sauté onions, garlic and chilli in butter, add the herbs to bring out the flavour, lower the heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are sweet
  2. Add the mince beef breaking it apart with the back of a spoon, then cook for 2-3 mins, or until starting to brown and then stir through the tomato paste.
  3. Stir through beef stock, crushed tomatoes and season to taste. Bring to the boil and then simmer on low for 20 mins

Assemble

  1. Coat the bottom of your baking dish with a bit of the meat sauce
  2. Place a layer of the melanzana
  3. Sprinkle with some tasty cheese
  4. Layer with half of the meat sauce
  5. Sprinkle with mozzarella
  6. Another layer of melanzana
  7.  Sprinkle with some tasty cheese
  8. Layer with half of the meat sauce
  9. Cover the top with the remainder of the cheese

Bake for 20-30 mins in a 180 degree oven or until it’s browned nicely

My beautiful Mum… rocking the 1980’s!