All types of pâté share the same pattern: there’s roasting or boiling, then there’s the chopping or blending, addition of cream, jarring and finally a short period of rest to let the individual flavors get to know each other and develop into something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Personally I’ve always felt that to make a vegetarian dish more interesting, the flavors would have to be complex without going over the top. I think this Eggplant Pâté does the trick.
A light yet delicious spread to offer your vegetarian friends. The great thing about this is it can be prepared days in advance and whipped out, with all the virtuosity of a master chef that you aren’t, to serve with saltines or a toasted crusty baguette.
I always prefer to use Crème fraîche to sour cream because it’s not as sour and it’s creamier.
Ingredients: (serves 6 as a spread or dip)
- 4 Eggplants
- 4 Garlic cloves
- 4 Rosemary stalks
- 4 Thyme stalks
- 5 Coriander stalks (leaves only)
- 200ml Crème fraîche
- 1 Lemon, juice only
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Roasting the Eggplants
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Slice a Eggplant lengthwise in half.
- Score each side of the Eggplant in a criss-cross pattern.
- Brush each side of the Eggplant generously with the Olive oil.
- Slice each Garlic Clove in half and stud each half of the Eggplant with the half clove.
- Break each Rosemary stalk into florets and stud one half of the Eggplant.
- Break each Thyme stalk in to florets and stud the other half of the Eggplant.
- Season each side with salt and pepper.
- Close the Eggplant together and wrap in aluminium foil.
- Repeat for each Eggplant.
- Place all the wrapped Eggplant in the oven and roast for 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven, unwrap and reserve.
Processing the Eggplants
- Remove the Rosemary and Thyme Stalks from the Eggplant.
- Scrape out the insides of the Eggplant with the Garlic clove.
- Repeat for all the Eggplants.
- With a sharp knife, chop the Eggplant innards into small bits.
- Place a large saucepan on high heat.
- Add enough Olive oil to coat the bottom of the saucepan.
- When it Olive oil approaches it’s smoking point, add the Eggplant innards.
- Sauté the Eggplants until all water have evaporated.
- Remove the saucepan from heat.
- While the Eggplants in the saucepan have cooled slightly, add the Crème fraîche.
- Add the Lemon juice to the saucepan.
- Julienne the Coriander leaves and add to the saucepan.
- Stir to mix throughly, adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Leave to cool to room temperature.
- Spoon the Eggplant Pâté into an air-tight jar.
- Store the jar in the refrigerator for at least 48hrs before serving.
- Keeps for 1 week refrigerated.
- Either purple or black Eggplant is fine.
- Be careful when handling the steaming Eggplant hot from the oven.
- When scraping the Eggplant, it is fine to leave some skin in the innards.
- There is no need to remove the Rosemary or Thyme leaves.
- Use a sharp knife, not a food processor to chop the innards to preserve the texture.
- The saucepan has to be very hot to evaporate the water or the eggplant will simply boil.
- When the sizzling stops, it means most of the water has evaporated.
- Start with a small amount of Crème fraîche first. Taste and adjust accordingly.
- How much Crème fraîche to add depends on how creamy you want the dip to be.
- Too much Crème fraîche may subdue the flavors.
- You may substitiute the Crème fraîche with light sour cream.
- If you use Greek Yoghurt as a substitute, use a smaller amount and taste to adjust.
- Taste the mixture constantly to adjust the flavors.
- The longer you let the flavors develop, the better it tastes.
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