Love at first bite

Aubergine, tomato & feta baklava

Aubergine, tomato & feta baklava.jpg

100ml olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 onions, halved and finely sliced
500g aubergine, cut into long 5mm thick slices
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
5 tbsp tomato purée
10 vine-ripened plum tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
pinch of sugar
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
2 tsp dried mint
dash of red wine vinegar
1 pack filo pastry (14 sheets)
100g butter, melted
100g medjool dates, stoned and finely sliced
50g flaked almonds
200g feta, crumbled
6 tbsp clear honey
houmous, to serve
dressed green leaves, to serve
parsley, to serve
chopped Kalamata olives, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over a low heat and sauté the onions until softened and sticky – this can take up to 30 mins.

Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan until very hot. Brush a few of the aubergine slices with a little oil, sprinkle with sea salt and cook over a high heat until well charred and cooked through, 5-7 mins, turning halfway through cooking. Lift onto kitchen paper and cook the remaining slices.

Add the garlic, cinnamon and tomato purée to the onions and cook for a further 2 mins. Add the tomatoes, sugar, dill, mint, vinegar and a generous pinch of sea salt. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 mins until thickened. Adjust the seasoning to taste and allow to cool. Can be made up to 2 days ahead.

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Unfold the pastry and cover with a damp cloth to prevent it drying out. Brush a baking tray (about 30 x 20cm) with melted butter. Line the tray with a sheet of filo (cut to fit if too big), brush with butter and repeat until you have a 6-layer thickness. Spread half the tomato mixture over the pastry, top with half each of the dates, almonds and feta, and cover with half of the aubergine slices. Sandwich another 4 layers of filo together with melted butter and place on top of the aubergines. Top with the remaining tomato mixture, dates, feta and aubergines. Sandwich the remaining 4 filo sheets together as before and place on top.

Lightly score the top, cutting into diamonds about 5 x 10cm. Brush with the remaining butter, splash with a little water and cook for 35-45 mins or until golden. Leave to cool a little before serving, then drizzle each portion with a little honey. Serve with houmous and a bowl of mixed green leaves, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, with flat-leaf parsley leaves and chopped Kalamata olives.