To make the cauliflower-cashew buttah base
In a medium-sized sauce pot, add the dismembered cauliflower, cashews, garlic, salt, rice vinegar and bay leaf along with 2 cups of water and cover.
Heat on medium-high until it reaches a slow boil, then steam for 10-15 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked throughout and breaks apart easily. Let it cool, then strain and remove the bay leaf.
Transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender. Start blending on low speed and, using damper/plunger, mash all the ingredients down to ensure everything gets blended. Add a few splashes of water or non-dairy milk only if absolutely needed (we’re looking to create as thick of a mixture as possible for the buttah so the less liquid the better).
Once completely blended and smooth, measure out 1/2 cup of the buttah and chill the rest for another use.
Save the remaining buttah base in a closed container in the fridge for up to a week.
To make the eggplant
Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas mark 5. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
To prep the eggplant, slice it in half lengthwise and score the inside without piercing the skin, with one tablespoon of oil rubbed into each top half. Season with the salt. Spread a thin layer of cauliflower buttah on the open face of each half allowing some to get between the slices.
On a separate plate, apply potato chip crust to cover the open eggplant flesh. Add a few dollops of cauliflower buttah to the top and place sliced tomatoes along with and bake face side up for 40-45 minutes.
Remove from heat garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve.