Sorry Dorie, this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe (Eggplant “tartine” with tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers, pp 144-15) was one I just could not get my head around. In fact, even though I made a “version” of it (and I use that term very loosely!), I didn’t end up even serving this to Mr Neil because whichever way I served and presented it, it just was odd.
Now, a tartine usually refers to an open-faced sandwich. This version uses eggplant baked in the oven instead of the bread. Uh. OK. Sort of. Not really. But ok then. I baked the eggplant and then quickly grilled it for a couple of minutes to make it a bit crispier.
Then I looked at my (unphotographed in my perplexed state) bowl of what should have been cherry tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic, capers, olives oregano, wine vinegar and pepper flakes. Instead it was cherry tomatoes, onions, garlic, tapenade, capers, wine vinegar, pepper flakes and thyme. Hey I haven’t gone rogue on a Dorie recipe for a few weeks now, ok?
And I just couldn’t picture it piled on top a slice of eggplant. Then topped with thin slices of cucumber. I kid you not. This is what the recipe called for. First served to Dorie by Frédérick Grasser-Hermé (one of France’s most creative cooks according to Dorie), an eggplant tartine inspired this version. Well I wasn’t inspired. Actually that’s not the case, I was intrigued. But because there is no picture of this dish (and I scoured the internet to see if I could find one too – to no avail), I was truly stumped as to what it should look like. Even over on the Problems and Questions post on the FFWD site the folks didn’t have any idea how it was supposed to look. A few suggested something along the lines of “a slice of eggplant with stuff dumped on it”. Ok then. Well when I did that, it was not pretty. So I took the topping off the eggplant slices and blitzed them with my immersion blender. And made a kind of smooth salsa.
But that looked weird too. As I looked at the sad slices of eggplant topped with a too-watery salsa, it came to me. CHEESE. So I topped them with some cheese and popped them under the grill (broiler for you folks from North America) for a few minutes until the cheese was bubbling and a little bit golden.
And whilst it looked more visually appealing, to me at least, than an eggplant slice with stuff on top, it was just “ok” in taste. I found the combo of the vinegar, olive tapenade and capers a little too acidic and the cucumbers were watery so the salsa didn’t “hold”. The cheese definitely helped.
Maybe next time I should follow the recipe properly. That’ll teach me!
French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, rather, we prefer if you purchase Around My French Table for yourselves (trust me, you definitely want this book!) which you can do here on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository. Go on, treat yourself – join us! Honestly, the recipes that I didn’t like I can count on one hand. Really!