Eggplant Fans

Aubergines en Eventail

Preparation info

  • Servings:

    4

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

Ingredients

  • 3 medium elongated eggplant (1 to 1¼ pounds), rinsed, wiped dry, ends trimmed but unpeeled
  • 2 large firm ripe tomatoes, core removed, unpeeled, split vertically, the halves sliced thinly
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, finely sliced
  • ⅓ to ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 tender artichokes, pared to hearts, quartered, chokes removed
  • 3 ounces black olives (preferably small “Niçoises”)
  • 2 bay leaves, broken into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs (thyme, oregano, savory)
  • Salt, pepper

    Method

    If only the large, egg-shaped eggplant is available, split it and cut it into slices crosswise. Otherwise, split the small elongated variety, place the halves, split side down, on the chopping board, and cut each, leaving the slices attached at the stem end, into -inch thicknesses, forming “fans.” Slip tomato slices into the slits of the sectioned eggplant halves and arrange them, gently forced together, side by side, in a large, oiled gratin dish, on the bottom of which has been scattered half of the chopped onion and sliced garlic.

    Pour the olive oil into a bowl and, the moment the artichoke quarters are pared, turn them around in the oil, coating them to protect them from contact with air. Force them and the olives (first rinsed) into the crevices or hollows left by the eggplant fans, fit in the bay fragments here and there, scatter the remaining onion and garlic over the surface, and sprinkle with the mixed herbs, salt, and pepper. Press everything into place to form as nearly regular surface as possible, and dribble the oil left over from the artichokes over the entire surface, adding a bit more, if necessary. Bake for about 1½ hours, a sheet of aluminum foil placed loosely over the surface, starting with a 450° oven and turning it down to about 350° after 10 minutes or so. When done, the stem ends of the eggplant should be perfectly soft to the touch. Serve as an hors d’oeuvre, either tepid or cold (but not chilled), sprinkled, if you like, with chopped parsley or fresh basil leaves torn into small fragments.