Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Millefeuille d'Aubergines And Chèvre Frais

Maybe it was the glass of wine, the candlelit restaurant, jet lag, or Mercury retrograde. Perhaps the sun was in my eyes....or maybe it was just the camera that allowed me to delete all of my pics without asking me a second time if I really wanted to get rid of photos from a fabulous day with friends. C'est la vie! So I don't have a photo of my sumptuously layered fresh goat cheese and eggplant starter, from Ambassade d'Auvergne, in Paris. I did come home and create my version to enjoy as I remembered it in my mind and with my taste buds, if not from my photographs. Just as savory!

My friend and fellow "stew", Lisa Magnuson of the Providence Wine Examiner, recommended some wine selections to go along with this starter. Her top choices are, Spanish Cava (sparkling), Tavel Rosé, Alsatian Riesling (which is dry) or a White Bordeaux. Today I served a chilled Rosé from Provence that I had gotten previously in Paris, and it was perfect.

So pour a glass of wine, enjoy this with friends...and watch for tricky fingers on the camera buttons!!

Millefeuille d'Aubergines And Chèvre Frais

1/2 pound baby or small Italian eggplant
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (thyme, basil, oregano) or 1/2 teaspoon dried herb de Provence
1 clove minced garlic
sea salt and pepper to taste
1-2 teaspoons honey
4 ounces fresh goat cheese*

*If you can't find fresh goat cheese, whisk a small amount of milk or cream with the cheese to loosen it slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice unpeeled eggplant 1/8 inch thick. Using a mandolin makes it easier and more uniform.

Place on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, herbs, garlic and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Spread the eggplant out in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake about 10-15 minutes.

You want the eggplant to be cooked but not too brown. Since the slices are very thin, they will cook quickly, so keep a close eye on them. Once they are done, let cool.

In a 1 1/2 cup clear glass (so you can see the layers), drizzle a few drops of olive oil and place a layer of goat cheese first. You'll be making 4-5 layers, so you'll need about one ounce per layer. Drizzle a few drops of honey, then add a layer of the cooked eggplant, making sure they are laying flat. Add a light drizzle of olive oil over the eggplant. Press down to get rid of any empty spaces and to make a firm layer. Keep repeating, ending with the eggplant. Refrigerate until firm.

To unmold, set glass in a bowl of warm water for a minute, being careful not to get any water into the glass. Run a small metal spatula around the edges to loosen and invert onto serving plate. Drizzle some honey and olive oil over the top and garnish with fresh herbs.

Serve with crusty French bread.

Makes 1 cup.

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