Please Pass the Recipe

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Boumiano – The Cookbook Guru

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Jane Grigson’s “Vegetable Book” is a handy reference to turn to when confronted with a glut of seasonal vegetables. I don’t have a vegetable garden, but I do have a friend who regularly helps out at the wholesale fruit and veg market here in Melbourne, a friend to growers who ply him with produce. He’s a single guy, his needs minimal so he does the rounds sharing out the booty he’s received.

Last week he brought me eggplants, loads of eggplants. We had very eggplanty moussaka one night and miso roasted eggplants another, leaving yet another kilo of eggplants still to cook. I began with Grigson’s recipe for Boumiano, a provencal eggplant au gratin, intending to make it verbatim, but I couldn’t help but make “improvements.”

A simple variation on ratatouille, equal weights of tomatoes and eggplants are cooked in olive oil with a whole clove of garlic, reduced to a thick and unctuous stew. The recipe asked for a roux of anchovies, flour and milk to thicken the vegetables, before topping with breadcrumbs and baking. Having salted the eggplants and chosen Roma tomatoes, the vegetables thickened quickly so I deemed the roux unnecessary. I simply melted the anchovies into the hot vegetables in lieu of salt and served the dish at room temperature as an accompaniment to lamb. Delicious….

The warmed up leftovers were extra good the next day with a dob of pesto and a poached egg on top.

The Cookbook Guru is currently cooking from Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book. Click the link to see what others are making.

Boumiano

750g eggplants

750g ripe Roma tomatoes

salt

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large clove of garlic

8 anchovy fillets

Cut the eggplants into large cubes 5cmX5cm. Salt generously and allow to drain for 20 minutes.

Cut the tomatoes into 2 cm dice and set aside. Peel the garlic clove.

Drain then chop the anchovies.

Wash the salted eggplants and dry thoroughly. Pat them dry on a clean tea towel.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy based pan. Add the garlic, eggplants and tomato. Stir to coat in oil, then bring to the boil and cook uncovered until thick and unctuous, about 10 minutes. Stir through the chopped anchovies and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the anchovies are melted.

Season the taste with freshly ground pepper and a little extra sea salt if needed.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

20 comments on “Boumiano – The Cookbook Guru

  1. Leah
    January 29, 2015

    Reblogged this on The Cookbook Guru and commented:
    Lady Red Specs at Please Pass The Recipe has contributed a delicious eggplant dish to our cookbook book club for this month. Our recipes are taken from, or inspired and adapted from, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book.

    Happy Reading and Happy Cooking,

    Leah

    Like

  2. Selma's Table
    January 28, 2015

    I love how simple but flavour packed this recipe is. A true classic. Dropping the roux was a good call – cooking is about judgment. And taste…

    Like

  3. Eha
    January 28, 2015

    Make ratatouille often but this vegetable recipe with the wonderful added taste of anchovies will be trialled after next aubergine purchase: looks so moreish and I do love your version of it. Which makes me think I better reacquaint myself with the Grigson book: I can see it under a pile of others untouched awhile 🙂 !

    Like

  4. marymtf
    January 28, 2015

    Of course you couldn’t help making improvements. Every cook worth her salt does. Please don’t talk about the weather. February is on its way. We’ll all be living off salads.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 28, 2015

      Hopefully you’re right, summer has been a bit reluctant this year!

      Like

  5. cheergerm
    January 27, 2015

    I guess the problem with following a recipe verbatim, even for a project such as this, is that you still have to eat the end result. I agree that a roux would have been weird in this if the sauce was already thick enough. Totes adore the anchovy addition Mrs Recipe!

    Like

  6. Nancy |Plus Ate Six
    January 27, 2015

    I much prefer the idea of the recipe without the flour roux. I need to get on and make my dish too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nancy | Plus Ate Six
    January 27, 2015

    I definitely like the sound of your version without the flour roux Sandra. I need to get on and find something to cook myself from the book.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 27, 2015

      I’ll look forward to seeing what you make Nancy, i think it’s a winter cookbook, there’s a distinct lack of raw veg salads

      Like

  8. My Kitchen Witch
    January 27, 2015

    As Glenda says, it is difficult to critique the cookbook if we modify. On the other hand, you did critique it by rejecting the roux – and documenting this. I really think it really is best to treat recipes as “guides” and not absolutes. I love melted anchovies in this recipe – they go so well with tomatoes, and of course, aubergines soak up all those flavours.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 27, 2015

      It seemed totally unnecessary to add roux to an unctious vegie stew. Perhaps if the tomatoes has been really wet I may have proceeded but my fresh Roma variety were very fleshy. I will add the gratin topping on another occasion, when the weather is cooler.

      Like

  9. joanfrankham
    January 27, 2015

    Looks very good.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 27, 2015

      Thanks Joan, it was a delicious alternative to ratatouille

      Like

  10. Glenda
    January 27, 2015

    Hi Sandra, it is a big ask to stick with the recipe sometimes. I like to do it though (when cooking for the Cookbook Guru) otherwise how do we critique the recipe/book? You have certainly made this dish look attractive but I am afraid I am not an eggplant girl.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 27, 2015

      I made the call to reject the roux as unnecessary during the cooking process as the veg mix was thick and unctious without it and adding flour seemed totally out of character with the vegies. The gratin topping would have added a crunchy textural element, but I was too lazy/hot to turn on the oven!

      Like

      • Glenda
        January 27, 2015

        I don’t blame you, it is bloody hot here too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ladyredspecs
        January 28, 2015

        I’m in Tassie this week, it’s struggling to get outside the teens C

        Like

      • Glenda
        January 28, 2015

        It’s 39 at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

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