Saturday, October 30, 2010

Not So Sweet Charlotte - Aubergine & Chèvre Charlottes

I had mentioned on the Fallen Souffle Cake post that I had wanted to try Laura Calder's Aubergine and Cumin Charlottes. I am always looking for interesting ways to prepare Eggplant. After all, one can only eat Mousakka and Baba Ghanoush so many times, delicious though they may be.

These are completely, totally and unequivocally exquisite.  Though I had to serve a different salad with them.  This fresh tomato allergy is a pain in the butt sometimes.  True, I could have oven roasted the tomatoes or something and then it would have been fine, but I decided since the oven was occupied, I would go in a completely different direction.  A deliciously fresh Upland Cress Salad, simply dressed with Meyer Lemon and Olive Oil.  (ANY excuse to use a Meyer Lemon)

It created a nice counterpoint to the warm Charlotte.

Laura Calder's Aubergine and Cumin Charlottes

2 Medium Eggplants
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 pinch Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
1 TB Cumin seeds, toasted and ground
3 Large eggs
1/4 cup milk
4 ounces fresh chèvre, crumbled

Turn on the boiler and move the rack down 1 level from the top (you don't want them too close to the element)

Line a large sheet pan with parchment (this will foster easier cleanup)

While it's heating up, slice one of the eggplants lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. (4mm is better)

Brush both sides liberally with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Broil for 10 to 15 minutes, until they become soft, but not crisp.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) and line a second sheet pan with parchment.

Cut the other eggplant in half, then brush the cut surface with Olive oil. (I used 4 smaller Ichiban Eggplants from the garden instead)

Lay the halves, cut-side down, on a baking sheet and bake about 40 minutes, or until the flesh is REALLY soft.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you are able to handle them without burning your fingers.
While the eggplant is baking, place the Cumin Seeds in a small skillet and set over medium-low flame.

Toast the seeds until they are fragrant, then remove from heat and place in a Mortar.

Grind the seeds with the pestal until you have a fairly fine powder.

When the baked Eggplant has cooled enough to handle, scrape the flesh from the baked aubergine halves into a bowl.

Add the toasted Cumin and stir to incorporate.

Switch to a whisk and beat in the eggs until homogeneous.

Finally, whisk in the Milk (Half & Half).

Season with salt and pepper.

Now time for assembly......
Line 6 ramekins with the aubergine slices, leaving the edges hanging over slightly. (I used 3 slices per ramekin)

Spoon in a layer of aubergine custard. (about 3 TB full)

Sprinkle with the crumbled chèvre.

Spoon a second layer of aubergine custard over the cheese.

Fold the overhanging slices back over the top to enclose the custard filling.

Set on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until set. (they will "rise" in the oven, then sink a little bit)

 Cool at least 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate with upland cress salad. (below)

While you are waiting for the charlottes to cool, assemble the Upland Cress Salad.

1 bunch Upland Cress or Watercress, (remove as many stems as possible)
Zest of 1/2 Meyer Lemon
Juice of 1/2 Meyer Lemon
1 TB Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Black pepper

Place the leaves in a bowl.

Add Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice and Olive oil.

Using your hands, gently toss the leaves until well coated.

Season with Kosher Salt and Black Pepper.

Place a small amount on each serving plate.

When the Charlottes are cool enough to handle, slide a small icing spatula around the edge to loosen slightly.

Tip onto the plate next to the small pile of Cress Salad.

Cut a small wedge with a butter knife and release the deliciousness.

I loved these so much, I am making them again, cause I didn't get enough....  LOL


1 comment:

Patti T. said...

I just learned to like eggplant and this looks divine! I grew the ichiban eggplants last year, I think I will plant them again next year.They are so yummy on the grill.