Saturday night is a bit of a downer for me; spending nine hours talking about cheese, wines and other delicacies, advising and sharing recipes, debating about the weather, local news and gossips or the scheduled 5th end of the world since 2012. What I really like about my day job is the people; so colourful in so many ways, from so many different backgrounds, cultures and ideologies, I wonder sometimes if my food world landing was not just a mere excuse. After such a busy and intense – almost choreographed – day, when six o’clock comes, sitting at the wheel of my car, I can actually see the tumble weeds rolling across the road…
The scenario of the evening is almost always the same; I put away my food shopping that I do while at work, since I am lucky enough to have an organic fruits and vegetables grower/ importer on site, as well as a local butcher. I then open a bottle of wine and often ring someone, my father or a friend, a poor victim that will fill that immense emptiness I am left to deal with. It also gives me a chance to think about cooking something nice as most of the time, Saturday means no lunch, maybe a “munch”, in a corner like a trapped escapee. No wonder they call that a “break”!
As I was tidying the fridge while holding a glass of Trebbiano, I realised that I had bought – yet again – another aubergine. Why do I do this? The association of the latter gave me the idea to ring my Italian friend Martina, food student from Piedmont I was lucky to work with for three months a year to the date or so. “ Ciao Principessa, come stai?” “Franck? FRANCK! Ciao! How are you?” I sat in the garden, and finally got my inspiration, eyes open or eyes closed, and like the song goes, I saw pretty colours. People from the south really sing when they talk; my cravings for human communication started to fade away and my appetite was growing stronger.
I always had a funny relationship with aubergines, I fancy them but never seem to do anything about it; my mother used some in her legendary ratatouille but that’s about it… Years ago I used to grill slices of it in sesame oil for a nice pizza topping. I had this recipe in mind for a while now and I must say it didn’t disappoint… I even finished it at breakfast. I cut the aubergine (eggplant) in slices and roasted them in a hot oven with olive oil until golden. After letting them cool, I laid them in an oiled baking tray, with two slices of bresaola ( organic air dried filet of beef cut super thin), and some Coolea cheese, a two year old matured gouda style from West Cork. I repeated the operation as in a lasagne style stack and finished with parsley bread crumbs on top. For the sauce, just 25cl of fresh cream, salt and pepper and ½ a large lemon juiced and some freshly chopped dill. In the oven it went back for about 15-20 minutes. Well that kept me busy, a good way to rekindle the flame I once had for the misunderstood aubergine and keep the Saturday bull frog blues away from my mind!