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Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

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Here’s blasphemy for you. I’ve deconstructed the traditional -and usually heavy and oily - Greek layered and slow-baked dish of lamb, béchamel sauce and eggplant, and turned it into a lighter, faster moussaka by going vertical instead of horizontal. Try it first, before you damn my soul to hell for mucking around with the classics.


  • 3 medium eggplants (aubergines)
  • fine grained salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 500 g (1 lb) lean minced lamb
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup tomato passato (purée)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (concentrate)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped oregano
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 quantity cheese sauce (Broths and Sauces)


Cut eggplant into twelve 1 cm (½ in) thick slices, sprinkle with salt, and leave on a tray for 2 hours. Rinse and pat dry with paper towel to remove any bitter juices and salt.

Heat olive oil and cook onion and garlic for 10 minutes. Add meat and brown well. Add white wine, tomato passato, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper, bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large frypan and fry each slice of eggplant on both sides until golden brown, or brush with olive oil and grill on or under a hot grill. Keep warm.

Make the cheese sauce and keep warm.

To assemble, place one eggplant slice in the centre of each warmed plate, top with a spoonful of minced lamb and a spoonful of cheese sauce, then another slice of eggplant, a spoonful of meat, then of cheese sauce, and top with the smallest, crispest slices of eggplant. Serve immediately.