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Dinner “all’Italiana” at La Moussière – Antipasto

I am back in “Rome sweet Rome”, and after taking the Photography course – Camerahols – with Roger Stowell,  little by little I am adapting to a new way of making pictures.

On my last evening  in France, Roger and I decided to cook dinner together – an Italian menu made of an antipasto of eggplant/aubergine/melanzane, and a simple pasta recipe, which will be on my upcoming post.

Since Roger had bought some beautiful eggplants, he had a great recipe in mind. While we were going through all the ingredients, I was skeptical when he told me he wanted to add Gorgonzola cheese to this recipe. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Gorgonzola, it is just that my Italian “foodie – microchip” was sending me error signals. In Italy, Gorgonzola cheese  is widely used during winter, and there are fantastic winter recipes of Gorgonzola with risotto, polenta, and – of course –  pasta. I personally love whole grain crostini with Gorgonzola and pears or Gorgonzola with honey and nuts. However, in this recipe I wanted the eggplant to be the star, so adding Gorgonzola would have cancelled out its taste (it is like having Madonna and Lady Gaga on stage at the same time).  

Since it was a summer recipe, we decided to add fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, lemon zest, fresh tarragon and basil. Also, since we were in France, we used delicious crème fraîche.

Eggplants stacks, fresh tomatoes and crème fraîche with a basil garlic sauce.

Ingredients

  • 3 small eggplants
  • 9 heirloom tomato slices
  • 15 teaspoons of crème fraîche
  • some tarragon leaves
  • lemon zest
  • 2  garlic cloves, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil

For basil sauce

  • about ½ cup of basil leaves
  • about 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ chopped garlic clove (if you are keen on garlic, use 1 clove)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

Prepare basil garlic sauce by mixing all ingredients in a blender. Set aside

Slice eggplants lengthwise into 5 slices. Keep only one of the tips since we are using only 4 slices per eggplant.

Salt eggplants and leave for 1 hour.

Meanwhile season tomato slices with extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, garlic slices, and salt and pepper. Leave for an hour. Discard garlic.

Rinse the eggplant slices, drain and pat dry

Dip in olive oil and chargrill on both sides until soft, and then transfer to a dish. In this phase, it is important to group together the slices belonging to each eggplant for plating purposes.

Combine tarragon leaves with crème fraîche.

Plating the dish

To serve, place a spoonful or two of the basil garlic sauce onto each plate. Arrange the bottom slice of an eggplant on top. Add a tomato slice on top. Add a teaspoon of crème fraîche. Continue layering until you place the tip of the lengthwise-cut eggplant. Add two teaspoons of crème fraîche. Garnish with a basil or a tarragon leaf.

Serves 3

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29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Fantastic photo!

    August 31, 2011
  2. Stunning recipe and stunning photo…who took it?! And did you have a good time?

    August 31, 2011
    • Hola CHICA!!! Thanks!! It was me with Roger’s coaching of course!! Yes we had a good time. I love Brits!!!

      August 31, 2011
  3. This looks wonderful and it’s a great photo too. I wouldn’t have thought of combining basil and tarragon in the same dish – I’ll have to try it. I’m looking forward to the next course!

    August 31, 2011
    • Thank you! I love mixing different kinds of herbs into summer dishes. Tarragon is probably my favorite herb but for some reason it is difficult to get it in Rome!

      September 1, 2011
  4. Your picture is truly fantastic – and you’ve dealt with Photoshop amazingly. I’m so impressed and, by the way, I love the post. Brilliant

    August 31, 2011
  5. This is one amazing photo and one amazing eggplant dish! I LOVE eggplant and the simplicity of it is awesome! Creme fraiche is so unexpected, but I really like the idea!

    August 31, 2011
    • You are right creme fraiche is so unexpected and it worked wonderful with the other flavors

      September 1, 2011
  6. I can make this, i am sure it will not be as beautiful as yours but i have everything i need for this one.. once more out into the garden and we are grilling a piece of our own grass fed beef for dinner as well so it will be perfect beside.. thank you c

    August 31, 2011
    • Go for it!!! and let me know hoe it goes!!

      September 1, 2011
  7. Welcome home and a well done! Both picture and recipe are wonderful. And I, too, love crostini with gorgonzola and honey. It’s the interplay of the salty with the sweet that I find so appealing. I hope you had a nice trip home and I cannot wait to read of your visit.

    September 1, 2011
  8. What a ‘classed’ photo. The lighting is gorgeous! I just was looking up a recipe for this dish, I think I told you I was just getting into the eggplants… anyway I will try it your way when I photograph sometime this week… if you do not mind! I would like to try. I am so glad that you had a good time of it in France. I can look forwards and hope….RaeDi

    September 1, 2011
    • Of course I don’t mind, I will be honored if you tried this recipe!!! Thank you!!

      September 1, 2011
  9. That sounds fantastic. Lady Gaga and Madonna on one stage! OK, seriously, this has me drooling. Love that you stuck to your eggplant guns. Just a beautiful dish!

    September 1, 2011
    • wouldn’t that be so awesome – Madonna and Lady Gaga on one stage? In this post, Madonna is my eggplant though!!!!

      September 1, 2011
  10. Well, your photography class certainly paid off because this pic is BEAUTIFUL!! A snapshot of summer goodness, really!

    September 1, 2011
    • Thank you!!! Summer summer!! I am already missing it!!

      September 1, 2011
  11. Cesare Cagli #

    My best compliments

    September 1, 2011
  12. Beautiful, beautiful photograph and wonderful recipe!

    September 1, 2011
  13. Amazing recipe and STUNNING picture..
    I love eggplant and this recipe sounds like a wonderful summer dish

    September 1, 2011
    • Thank you!!! Coming from you, I feel honored. Thanks for stopping by!

      September 1, 2011
  14. Absolutely beautiful!! I love the combo of tomato and eggplant, especially when paired with some basil and lemon! It’s so pretty when stacked, too 🙂

    September 4, 2011
    • Thank you! Eggplants and tomatoes are a great pair!! Adding lemon zest gave the dish an even fresher taste!

      September 4, 2011

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