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.