Meditations

Eventail d’aubergines à la provençale


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In this first week of my French stage, I’ve learned all kinds of tips and tricks . This ranges from suspending a soupy salad (like bulgur-less tabbouleh) in a tamis (sieve) set over a bowl, so as to preserve the sauce but keep the cucumber, tomatoes and parsley from macerating in the acidic liquid, to freezing meat and sauce separately, then reheating the sauce first and putting the meat into the hot sauce so as not to overcook but serve piping hot. (Amazing, right?!?!)

But of all of the tricks I’ve learned so far, none compares to the vegetable eventail (fan) trick, which is a common French method of preparing the vegetable. You can find a great recipe here. Generally, a thick vegetable (most commonly a zucchini or eggplant) is thinly sliced on the vertical and fanned out on oiled parchment paper. It can then be layered with anything your heart desires: classically the Provençal use tomatoes and onions with anchovy or tiny black olives, but cheese is splendid, as is anything that gets soft and succulent when baked.

Once stuffed, season generously with salt and pepper, drizzle with a good olive oil, and sprinkle with some fresh whole thyme leaves (not the sprig, silly. The leaves.) Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 25 minutes (depends on the size of vegetables you are dealing with) or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Voila! It looks sexy on the plate, and is oh-so easy to boot.

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