Aubergines, Still Life by Olga Koval
Aubergine is the French word for eggplant, readily available in late summer and a staple in Mediterranean cuisine. I learned from my Mame Jane how to prepare aubergine in a variety of ways common to Provençale cooking. I hope you will venture in trying these recipes.
My favorite is “Ratatouille,” a fresh vegetable stew of peeled cubed eggplant, onions, fresh tomatoes, green peppers, yellow squash, zucchini and sometimes cooked pieces of chicken or pork. Garlic and Herbs de Provence (basil, oregano, rosemary, lavender), salt and pepper flavor the sweet combinations in olive oil and peppercorns at a slow cook rendering a tasty sauce to dip with French bread. A Dutch oven ceramic pot or deep cast iron pot is excellent for this recipe. Combine all the ingredients and simmer to melt the flavors. Then blend in a good tomato sauce until all the vegetables are soft and brown. I sprinkle freshly grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese on top. This dish is even better tasting the next day.
P.S. I cook according to the servings desired, two or three of each ingredients; you can decide for yourself what your family may or may not like –you know best. As for me and Hubby, the spices are robust. Any leftover freezes well for a later time.
My next recipe is “Fried or Oven Roasted Eggplant.” I peel and cut the eggplant in thing round slices, either fried in a skillet or roasted in the oven at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. You can coat the slices in Italian breadcrumbs or leave natural. When done, drain the fried or roasted eggplant on a paper towel cookie sheet and spread a paste of fresh tomatoes onto the slices and sprinkle with grated cheese.
P.S. the best and sweetest eggplants are small and round, while the elongated ones tend to be bitter and full of seed.
I’ll be making both recipes today to last through Monday’s celebration.
Don’t forget a robust red wine and sweet dessert. Bon Appetit!