Spiced Aubergine Wrapped in Parma Ham - Serves 4
When buying aubergines make sure they are firm to touch and free from bruising, and that they have a fresh-looking green stalk.This is a stunning dish and the flavours of Parma ham and cheese blend so well together. When making the roux, using warmed milk will help incorporate it.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.
2. Lay the aubergine quarters in a non-metallic dish. Sprinkle with the lemon juice, the herbs and the garlic, and leave to sweat for 2–3 minutes.
3. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole. Turn the aubergine into it, removing the bay leaves. Add the sugar and the stout.
4. Bake in the preheated oven until the aubergine is soft and the liquor is syrupy, roughly 10–12 minutes. Remove the aubergine, drain and leave to cool. Reserve the liquor, measuring out 50ml.
5. To make the roux, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1–2 minutes or until the flour is cooked – but do not allow it to brown. Pour in the warmed milk gradually, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps forming, and when all the milk is incorporated bring to the boil.
6. Stir in the aubergine liquor and nutmeg to taste. Add the grated cheese and season to taste. Stir thoroughly to combine.
7. Wrap a cooked pancake and 2 slices of Parma ham around each section of cooled aubergine.Top each one with a slice of Cheddar and lay in an ovenproof gratin dish.
8. Pour over the roux and sprinkle with the paprika. Return to the hot oven for 10 minutes or until the roux is bubbling. Serve immediately.