The Burnt Eggplant Butter Recipe on Tomato Toast

Ode to Ukrainian cuisine, the book summer kitchens d’Olya Hercules has just been published by Editions ax kitchen. The opportunity to see a preview of one of the income with seasonal vegetables, simple and easy to make throughout the summer.

The Burnt Eggplant Butter Recipe on Tomato Toast

For 6 people
-1 large eggplant
-20 g best quality butter, softened
-6 slices of sourdough bread
-1 large garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
-2 ripe tomatoes cut in half
-Fresh aromatic herbs, finely chopped, such as dill, basil, cilantro (optional)
-Sea salt and black pepper

You should blacken and cook the eggplants until tender, as you would a baba ganoush or eggplant caviar. The technique that gives the best results is to place the aubergine on the hot coals of the barbecue, but it is also possible to do it over an open fire if you have a gas stove: place the aubergine directly over a medium intensity flame and turn off. with tweezers every 5 min. This should take 10-15 minutes. They can also be roasted in the oven at 220°C (convection 200°C or th. 7-8) or under a hot grill for about 20 min. Once the eggplant is charred on the outside and melted on the inside, place it on a plate until just barely cool, so you can handle it. Pour the liquid made by the eggplants into a bowl, then peel off the thick skin by hand. If some flaps of skin don’t come off, don’t worry, it’ll just add flavor. Add the eggplant meat to the bowl containing the liquid and mash with a fork. While the preparation is still hot, mix the butter with a fork, then add salt and pepper before tasting: the preparation should be well seasoned and comforting, like a distant Ukrainian cousin of the famous Baba ganoush. Toast the slices of bread on a cast-iron grill (or in a toaster) then rub them first with the garlic and then with the tomatoes, as in the bread with tomato Spanish. Then pour 1 tablespoon of eggplant butter on the slice of bread. Garnish with finely chopped fresh herbs, if desired, and serve. If you have any leftover eggplant butter, it will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Author’s Note: Don’t be surprised by the modern title of the recipe: I found a delightfully simple version in Olga Franko’s excellent 1929 book, Practical Cooking. Throughout the book, I was intrigued by the confusion around the Ukrainian terms used for eggplant and tomato: the word used for eggplant is “purple tomato” and for tomatoes “red eggplant”! If you’ve never had aubergines served with butter before, this dish will be a revelation. It’s delicious and silky at the same time, and makes a great appetizer or side dish to share. Also add fresh aromatic herbs if you have them.

Excerpts from Summer Kitchens, by Olia Hercules, Photographer Joe Woodhouse at Hachette Cuisine

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