ffwD: eggplant “tartine” with tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie tripped me up a little bit. I didn’t read through the recipe carefully. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t a true tartine, an open-faced sandwich with bread, until I saw some chatter about it. Then, when I was at the farmstand, I had picked up some slender eggplants, about the size of cucumbers, assuming the eggplant would be chopped, however, the recipe called for a large eggplant where the slices would serve as the base for the topping. I proceeded, following the mantra “cook with what you have” and surprised myself with a winning success.

All these ingredient hiccups resulted in total procrastination. I woke up this morning and, alas, still hadn’t made the recipe. I was going out for lunch and needed dinner to be extra quick tonight, plus Howard won’t eat eggplant, so he wasn’t about to try it. Still in my pajamas, I headed downstairs to roast my eggplant slices, make the tomato salsa, and slice the cucumbers. I would at least taste it, so I could participate with the other bloggers.

I have to mention that I love cooking in my pajamas. It always seems so decadent, and yet productive at the same time. Falling straight out of bed and into the kitchen to get things going, fitting in a shower while something bakes or simmers, it makes me feel like I’m squeezing something extra out of the day.

I hear that in the Middle East, they eat salads for breakfast, so I followed suit. I arranged my tiny eggplant slices on the plate, topped them with the tomato salsa, then loosely arranged some thinly sliced cucumbers on top with a little drizzle of olive oil. This served as an unusual appetizer for my usual breakfast of toast, cheese, and fruit.

My favorite part of this recipe was the caponata-like tomato salsa. I used a combination of diced farm-fresh tomatoes along with quartered backyard-fresh cherry tomatoes. These were tossed with celery (unpeeled, in case you’re wondering), scallion, garlic, olives, capers, and fresh oregano along with oil and vinegar. . I loved the contrast of the sweet tomatoes and the crunchy celery and scallion. I didn’t have any green olives on hand so used Kalamatas. I liked the way the purplish color of the olives complemented the similarly-colored skin on the eggplant.

Even though he doesn’t care for eggplant, Howard even took a container of the tomato salsa to eat as part of his lunch. We polished off the leftovers with tonight’s quick grazing dinner of things found in the fridge.

I liked the whole composition and would make it again, though more likely, I’ll only make the tomato salsa component to eat as a salad or to top some grilled chicken or fish.

I’m looking forward to reading about what my fellow FFwD bloggers thought about this week’s recipe. Check out their links here. We don’t post the recipes, but consider getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.


Posted on 7 September 2012, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Your version looks lovely. I like the idea of eating it for breakfast and I agree that there’s something special about cooking and eating in pajamas, especially on a weekend.

  2. thekitchenlioness

    Betsy, you certainly made this aubergine “tartine” sound like one marvelous dish and it does look so pretty the way you presented it – just wonderful! It all looks so fresh and delicious and colorful. I had bought the “slender” aubergine too, but on purpose, since I felt like having a bit of a different “look” for this dish.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Your post made me smile.
    Yes, I am often guilty of getting up early on the weekends (long before the rest of the house) and starting some kind of project in the kitchen still in my pajamas. I love that I can start whatever it is I am making, brew a pot of coffee and spend a leisurely morning just enjoying the moment. Then, everyone wakes up and overdrive begins :-)
    I agree that the topping would be great with some fish.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. I am ALWAYS up earlier than Neil on the weekends making stuff in the kitchen before I have even showered or had a coffee ;) Love the idea of this for breakfast!

  5. What would have made this Post better, Betsy? Including a picture of you cooking in your PJ’s. And, yes, it almost seems decadent, hedonistic—-we hard-driving, charging-ahead, fitting something extra into our mornings Americans. Like you, I will make the salsa again but will probably pass on dumping it on a slice of aubergine. Andrea did suggest a wonderful way to present this dish which I think Dorie should adopt if she comes out with a second edition of this cookbook. By the way, I am sitting, this Saturday morning, reading Posts, making comments, in MY nightgown. NO PICTURE included.

  6. Oh, I love the idea of those little ones…those would be so perfect! I just little anythings, and these are so cute. Looks great, and you can bet I will try it with the little ones soon. Jammies? Not sure about that…I am trying to think if I have EVER worn jammies outside the bedroom and I can’t think that I have…I wouldn’t know what to do with jammies on in the kitchen, it would just disorient me to no end…but awfully fun to read about all of you who do wear jammies in the kitchen. :-)

  7. Yes Betsy, cooking in your PJs is fun! I think your dish turned out beautifully and your adjustments just made it better. I was skeptical about green olives but ended up liking them but I bet black was just as good or better. I think we all liked the salsa like topping best!

  8. I too was very rushed to make this post, but it seemed so good and I needed to make something to eat before heading to work anyway… Those baby eggplant sound like they’d be great, the large one I used was pretty seedy. P.S. Totally intrigued and baffled to hear that there are people out there not familiar with the cooking in p.j.s routine.

  9. Betsy, I used Japanese eggplant too and thought them too small to cut crosswise, but you proved me wrong! I like the way you tousled the tomato salsa all over the eggplant, not worrying about keeping it tartine-like. Yes, the number of TwD posts is overwhelming to read; I don’t always succeed. That’s a bigger project than the baking one! I can tell I’m going like cooking and posting with this charming FFwD group, maybe even more than TwD.

  10. Your tartine looks lovely. I am with Howard, I just eat the salsa. I love the idea of cooking in your PJ’s.

  11. Some weekends I’m in my pjs baking till noon. It’s a bit embarrassing when someone comes to the door…LOL. I liked the salsa a lot, too :)

  12. Hi. Looks and sounds delicious. Congrats on your new venture. Very exciting and something. I’m sure you are looking forward to.

    Sent from my Kindle Fire


  13. I love the early morning with my first cup of coffee and no noise. I can plan or start whatever I feel like doing. Your tartine looks wonderful and so delicious. Betsy, even
    though I made the soup early, it was so delicious and when the recipe does come up
    I definitely want to find the red kuri squash instead of the butternut. Have a wonderful

  14. On top of chicken and fish sounds great! I was thinking of dicing and grilling the eggplant and mixing it with the rest of the topping and piling it all on top of bruschetta. I’m planning to do this soon but I’m so glad I caught on the creme brulee tho!

  15. Betsy, Today I baked my TWD Whole Wheat Bread in my PJ’s!! Your post made me smile…your eggplant tartine (salad) looks very good…I truly enjoyed this one!

  16. Apparently, many loved the salsa and not the final result so much. I love cooking in my pj´s too! You know, smaller rounds might work better since they can be eaten in one bite and not make a mess. Have a nice weekend!

  17. I’m glad you squeezed this in on time! I also loved the contrast of the tomatoes with the celery and onion.

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