Aubergine Charlotte

I’ve been meaning to make these for a long time, but have been going through a long phase of not having anyone round for dinner. Adapted from The Gate’s cookbook using garlic and herb Boursin cheese in place of the goat’s cheese custard.

Baking the aubergine rather than frying gives them that same melt in the mouth silky smooth texture but without absorbing quite so much oil.

Makes 4 Charlottes – 1 per person

2 aubergines – cut into 1cm slices
a good few mushrooms – I used 6-8 normal ones and a couple of large field mushrooms – finely chopped
4 shallots (or a small onion) – finely chopped
a few dried wild mushrooms
1 clove of garlic – finely chopped
a selection of herbs – chopped
8 slow roasted or sun blushed tomatoes
8 basil leaves
1 round of Boursin
Lots of olive oil

Heat the oven to 220C.

Place the aubergine slices on a baking sheet, brush liberally with olive oil then bake in the oven until soft and starting to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Now make the mushroom filling. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. When hot fry the shallots and garlic until softened then add the fresh mushrooms. Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water until tender. Chop and add them with the mushroom stock to the pan. Add some chopped herbs – oregano, parsley, thyme are all good, season well then fry until all the liquid has gone. Turn off the heat and set to one side.

To make the Charlottes take 4 individual pudding basins. Line each with tin foil then line the foil with slices of aubergine. Add enough mushroom mixture to fill each basin up to around two thirds. Place two tomato pieces on top the mushroom mixture (I used a jar of tomatoes in oil which I found at my local supermarket. You can use the remaining tomatoes in a salad to serve with these) then lay two basil leaves on top of the tomatoes. Top with a generous slab of Boursin and cover with any remaining aubergine slices.

Bake in the oven at 200C for about 15-20 minutes. Then turn them out onto plates.

I served these to my guests with saffron mash and mixed salad leaves. I think new potatoes would go well with them too. If serving mash it looks great it you put it in the pudding basin first then turn it onto the plate next to the Charlotte.

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