The aubergine left northern India nearly three thousand years ago, traveled in the silk and spice caravans and then in the holds of the Arab ships that brought it to the Mediterranean basin. The new stars on the stalls are called Ronde de Valence, Japanese Pickling, Violette de Toulouse, Bianca Rotonda Sfumata di Rosa, Little Fingers, Tsakoniki… Violet, green, white, tiger or black, the aubergine comes in an elongated or completely round, barely larger than an olive or very plump, up to 4 kg!
With her, revise your classics: Provençal tian, Greek moussaka, Lebanese baba ganoush, pasta alla Norma… And try original combinations: stuffed with snails with parsley, or steamed with shellfish, ginger and coriander.
Eggplant can even be used in desserts: cut pieces into cubes and caramelize them with sugar or honey before incorporating them into a cake. Cut into thin, long strips, also browned with sugar, the aubergine lends itself to a surprising millefeuille, with cottage cheese. In Sorrento, Italy, a generous slice of confit eggplant is served covered with ricotta and lemon amaretti, drizzled with chocolate and enhanced with candied orange zest!
During the summer season, I cook whole aubergines on the barbecue, turning them regularly. When they are very soft, I collect the smoked flesh, I let it drain for an hour in a colander and I keep it, after having put it under vacuum, in the freezer, to make eggplant caviar, hummus or stuffings. , to prolong the summer.
• Its default: it’s an oil sponge. Steam the slices or cubes. Dry the pieces on paper towels, brown them with very little oil and cook the eggplant as indicated in the recipe. The result will be lighter.
• If you peel it, do not discard the skin, it is a source of antioxidants. Cut it into fine julienne and sauté these filaments with a little olive oil until they are crispy. Season with fleur de sel: here is a condiment!
• It freezes perfectly: keep whole, raw mini-aubergines; larger varieties in strips, cubes, always raw.
For 4 people
12 Little Fingers mini eggplants or mini Tsakoniki – 1 tbsp. at s. coarse salt – 200 g stale bread – 1 carrot – 1 onion – 2 cloves of garlic – 1 tbsp. c. chopped fresh ginger – 8 sprigs of coriander – 2 pinches of powdered cumin – 2 pinches of powdered fennel – 3 pinches of powdered Espelette pepper – 1 drizzle of olive oil lime juice salt end and ground pepper
For the yogurt sauce:
250 g plain yoghurt – 2 garlic cloves – 8 mint leaves
Slice the mini eggplants in half vertically without cutting them completely. Place them in 50 cl of cold water with coarse salt and let them soak while you prepare the stuffing.
Finely blend the stale bread, carrot, onion, garlic cloves, chopped fresh ginger, coriander, cumin, fennel, Espelette pepper, olive oil, lime, salt and pepper. Mix.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Drain and rinse the aubergines, pat them dry on paper towels. Slide a teaspoon of stuffing into the heart of each eggplant, arrange them tightly in a baking dish.
Drizzle them with olive oil and bake for 45 minutes. Season the yoghurt with salt, pepper, minced garlic and chopped mint. Mix well and serve this sauce with the aubergines coming out of the oven.