Un Plat d’Aubergines et de Tomates à M. Chabrier

M. Chabrier’s Dish of Aubergines with Tomatoes

Eighty-year-old M. Chabrier was my neighbour in Vézénobres. And whenever we met we talked about food; sometimes we sat on the high terrace overlooking the valley below and, at other times, in front of the brick fireplace which his wife had waxed for fifty years until it looked like glass and of which he was very proud.

‘This land around here is aubergine country,’ he said one morning, ‘so I’ll tell you a good way of eating them.’

Wipe some medium-sized aubergines with a cloth, then cut into slices and place in a sieve, covered with a plate, to drain for about half an hour.

Dry the slices on kitchen paper and toss them in seasoned flour. Shallow-fry the aubergines on both sides in olive oil and then drain on paper.

Take a large serving plate and arrange the slices of aubergine in a circle towards the edge of the plate. Slice some large tomatoes and arrange in overlapping rings in the centre. Chill the plate for up to one hour. Then, just before serving, dribble a little olive oil over the tomatoes, season and sprinkle some chopped basil or parsley on top.

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