Like most serious home cooks, I know the name Dorie Greenspan. But until recently, I didn’t own any of her books. That changed a week or two ago, when I ordered a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours. A number of my online baking friends are members of Tuesdays With Dorie, a group that bakes a different recipe from Baking every week. It was too late to join the group, as membership is closed, but I’ve heard so many great things about the book, I wanted to get it.
About the time the book arrived, I learned that Dorie had a new book coming out, Around My French Table. I also found out that there was a new group forming, French Fridays With Dorie. I thought it might be fun to join this new group, but I wanted to try a few recipes from the book before I committed myself.
Although the release date is October 8, Amazon already had it in stock; so I ordered it and two days later, it was at my door. I opened the book, and the first recipe I saw was Eggplant Caviar (p. 23). Since I had just picked up some beautiful eggplant at the farmer’s market, this recipe seemed like as good a place as any to start.
I picked up another (less beautiful) eggplant and the herbs at the store, and set to work. This is really a simple recipe (which, in case you’re wondering, has no caviar in it). The first step is to roast the eggplant.
In a sidebar, Dorie suggests slitting the eggplant and stuffing it with slivered garlic. I followed her suggestion, and the roasted garlic gave the eggplant great depth of flavor. I baked the eggplant for 45 minutes, until they were soft and wrinkly.
Once the eggplant had cooled, I halved each one and scooped out the meat. I think I should have baked the eggplant another 15 minutes or so, as some of it didn’t scoop out cleanly. I was able to get most of the meat into the bowl, where I mixed it with garlic and olive oil. (As a side note, if you stuff the eggplant with garlic, you might want to cut back a bit on the raw garlic.) The recipe says to mash everything together with a fork, but I found it easier to squish it up with my hand.
After the eggplant was sufficiently broken down, I added the remaining ingredients — lemon zest and juice, onion, basil, thyme, cilantro, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
The recipe doesn’t specify how much salt to add; I found that it needed quite a bit, about 2-3 teaspoons. I used black truffle salt, which gave the dish amazing flavor. I also added healthy amounts of black pepper and cayenne.
So, how did my first Dorie Greenspan recipe come out? Well, let’s just say I’m glad I bought two of her books. I’m going to bake the brioche recipe from French Table next, then maybe I’ll have a go at something from Baking.
Oh, and I already signed up for French Fridays.