French Fridays is making my transition back to blogging so easy. This week is another simple dish using mostly ingredients that were on hand and two fresh from the garden, tomatoes and oregano. Dorie’s “tartine” in this case is not presented on toasted bread, but instead on a round of roasted seasoned eggplant. The tart salsa topping has the flavors of an Italian deli olive salad – sharp with vinegar, olives, capers, sweet onion and celery but includes fresh tomato and a final topping of crisp thin sliced cucumber. A single herb, fresh chopped oregano, graces the mix.
D and I had the same thought when we dug in – this would be perfect as an antipasti or even a first course at this year’s Taste of Italy fundraiser. (Oh you lucky donors – the dinner is December 1st in Greensboro, NC. Message me if you want info on tickets.) At first I was concerned the salsa was too heavy on the vinegar, but once the chopped vegetable mix hit the roasted eggplant the flavors mellowed. The plain cucumbers provided a soothing contrast to the intensity of the salsa ingredients. I tried it both with and without the cucumber because initially I thought they were too much of a distraction from the smooth rich flavor of the eggplant. Both versions were satisfying and for a fall or winter dish, I might consider some warm roasted red peppers instead of cool cucumber.
The French Fridays set are not publishing recipes. You can pick up a copy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan at fine booksellers everywhere and follow our cooking exploits at French Fridays with Dorie.