from one generation to the next
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.
750g ripe Roma tomatoes
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.