Tag Archives: eggplant

Fresh ratatouille-inspired “verrines”

Once again, our trip to the produce market was a very inspiring one. Colorful displays, friendly staff sampling fruit, the sight and scent of fresh flowers, what a wonderful place to feel energized and inspired. As we stopped by one of the vegetable stands, we could not help but notice the large variety of eggplants available to us. They are very different from on another in size, color and shape.

Almost every single variety ended in our cart so that Loulou and I would be able to decide which would be most suitable for our dish. Chinese and Japanese eggplants have thinner skins and more delicate flavors. The Globe and Italian eggplants vary in sizes but are fairly similar in taste – firmer skin and flesh. Finally the Rosa Bianca, also know as the heirloom italian eggplant, has a creamy flesh and softer skin than the Italian and Globe.

My friend C. recently asked me about a recipes with eggplants. “I like eggplant in meals a lot, but don’t know how to prepare it myself”. Here is a second recipe for her, inspired from the French “ratatouille”.

Classic ratatouille is a warm dish, with eggplants, zucchini, red bell pepper, onion and tomatoes. In most of the classic ratatouille recipes that I know, vegetables are stir fried separately, then combined, and cooked together for about 30 minutes.

In these “verrines”, I decided not to use pepper and to layer the other vegetables in glasses. Another difference with the classic ratatouille is that the tomato and zucchini remain raw so that a spoonful of the “verrine” will mix crunchy and creamy textures.

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Those meals that feel like home – eggplant, red bell pepper and parmesan shavings “tartine”


“A yearning for the past, often in an idealized form” is the definition that wikipedia provides for the word “nostalgia”. For me, it is very much associated with tasting, smelling or preparing food.

Nostalgia tastes like an eggplant and red bell pepper spread on a slice of bred accompanied with a salty cheese and a salad.  A bite of that sunny melange and I think countryside, foggy mornings, jogging in our village, and sunflower fields.

For the eternal expatriate that I am, those kind of meals are more than just comfort foods, they represent constants in a childhood spent traveling from a place to an other, from a culture to an other. They made me feel at home no matter where we were and how far from our roots we had gone.

This dish can be served as an appetizer as well as the main course for lunch – you would just need to adjust the size of the slice of bread to your appetite. It is very easy to make, does not require any other tools than a frying pan, a knife and a cutting board. I served it with a salad – greens, steamed small potatoes, Kalamata olives – seasoned with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fleur de sel and pepper.

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