Here’s a solid summer recipe courtesy of Georgeanne Brennan, from her gorgeous cookbook The Food and Flavors of Haute Provence. These were a big hit at my recent Provençal-themed lunch with friends. Even the baby liked them!
Brennan’s recipe called for one large eggplant. As I was to serve this as a side dish for a party of 8 people, I used two large eggplants.
2 large eggplants
2 Tbls herbes de Provence
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
200 grams (about a cup) fresh goat cheese
8 to 10 small tomatoes
1/3 cup (about a handful) chopped fresh basil
salt & pepper
Cut the eggplants lengthwise about ¼ inch thick. You should have about 15 slices. Place them in a large platter or baking dish and cover with salt, fresh ground pepper, the herbes, and olive oil. Turn them a few times to coat well. Let marinate for about an hour.
Finely chop the basil and set aside.
To prepare the concassé, peel, de-seed, and chop the tomatoes. Although Brennan does not say to, I always score and boil tomatoes if they are to be peeled, as it’s so much easier to get the skin off. This time I ‘flash’ boiled them: 2 minutes. Once they are cool, peel and de-seed the tomatoes, roughly chop the flesh, and transfer to a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the basil and stir. Set aside, but not in the fridge.
Get your grill fire going. (You can also use a grooved grilling pan if you prefer, which will require more olive oil for the pan.) When the coals are ready, grill the eggplant slices about 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until they are browned and soft in the middle. Let cool for about 15 minutes.
When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, spread a small scoop (about a tablespoon) of the goat cheese onto each slice and set them on a platter. When this step is done, sprinkle the chopped basil over all the slices. Then roll up each one. Brennan uses a toothpick to secure them; I just made little folded pockets. Serve with the tomato, either by placing two rolls on each plate with a scoop of the concassé as garnish; or, as pictured here, on a communal platter with the garnish in the middle.