fridgebottom food is always interesting food. it can be good, it can be bad, but given it involves using up whatever is lurking in your fridge, before it goes out of date or you go away (as was the case when i made this lasagne), it’s always interesting as it usually involves unexpected combinations.
soup is an easy and obvious approach to fridgebottom food but isn’t, in my opinion, particularly interesting or inspiring. tapas is another easy option, especially if it takes the theme of “world tapas” so that your spanish tortilla can happily be served with stirfried vegetables and a cheese and bacon rosti.
creating a single coherent dish that works well is quite a challenge and i was impressed how well this fridgebottom lasagne worked. the key is, i think, to have the different vegetables in separate layers – griddled aubergine; creamy fennel and courgette; fried mushrooms in this case – so the flavours still shine through on an individual basis.
next time you’re doing some fridgebottom cooking, why not try lasagne?
fridgebottom lasagne (serves 6)
2 large aubergines, cut into 1cm slices
olive oil for frying
1 giant bulb of fennel (or 2-3 normal sized ones), cut into 1cm dice
1 courgette, cut into 1cm slices
150ml sour cream (or crème fraiche)
1 clove garlic, chopped
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, shredded
75g grated cheddar
8-10 sheets lasagne
for the tomato sauce:
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
heat a griddle and when it is hot, brush both sides of each slice of aubergine with a little olive oil. griddle until they are soft and have dark griddle lines marked on each side. you’ll need to do this in 4-5 batches.
meanwhile, start the tomato sauce – fry the garlic in the olive oil until it softens then add the tomatoes, herbs and sugar. leave to bubble until the sauce has thickened a little but is still quite runny – you need the moistness to cook the lasagne sheets.
in a separate pan, melt half the butter and add the fennel. as it begins to soften – in about 5 minutes – add the garlic and courgette. cook until just soft enough to eat. remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.
in a separate pan, melt the remaining butter and add the mushroom slices. when they are cooked add the sage and remove from the heat.
to assemble the lasagne, place a layer of aubergine slices in the bottom of a lightly oiled dish*. cover this with half the tomato sauce and sprinkle with half the cheese. add a layer of lasagne sheets and top this with the cooked mushrooms, add a layer of lasagne and top this with the fennel and courgette mix. cover this with the rest of the tomato sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
cook in a preheated oven (200c) for 25-30 minutes, until the lasagne is bubbling and the pasta cooked.
* i had some aubergine slices leftover, so i chopped them finely and added them to the second half of the tomato sauce.