The reasons for William’s long summer absence are many, but above all, it’s an unmistakable rouse on his part to force me to break this long uncomfortable silence. So, here’s what we’ll be doing in the kitchen today: Mille-feuille of tiles of Parmesan, tomatoes, and eggplant caviar. Sure, it’s an unfortunate sounding recipe name, but I live in France now, so they all sound like that, and they are all delicious. I made this a few weeks ago with some colleagues, so had the photos and recipe laying around. It’s not really something you serve during the Superbowl, but you’ll know when the time is right. Plus, we’ll be making this in three independent parts, and each part individually will be the type of thing that’s handy to know in the kitchen.
You will need:
- 100g (3/4 of a cup) of shredded Parmesan
- Two eggplants
- A pack of cherry tomatoes
- A soup spoonful of flour
- A small spoonful of sugar
- Olive oil
- A small clove of garlic
Now go wash your hands, and let’s begin.
1) First up, the eggplant. You’ll be using the oven, so preheat it to 350°F (180° C ). Cut the eggplants lengthwise. Place them fleshy-side up on a cookie sheet or pan. Here, we are going to dress them up with some salt and oil, but wait, because there is a problem. The oil is just going run off the eggplant and onto the pan. This is why you’ll take your knife and cut grooves into the eggplant in a grid-like pattern. Just like in the photo. Now, you put the salt and a generous amount of oil on it. Good. Ok, into the oven they go for 35 minutes. 35 minutes later, you will take them out, and scrape out their insides with a spoon into a bowl. Then you’ll finely mince a clove of garlic, and add it to the eggplant. Do you have a blender? If so, dump everything in there and blend slowly. If not, just mash everything together with a fork in that bowl.
2) Next, the parmesan tiles. In a bowl, mix the flour and the Parmesan together. Put a nonstick skillet for on your stove-top, and let it heat up under medium heat. Take a small handful of your powdery mix and place in the skillet, sprinkling the mix to form a flat disk. Aim for something that has the same diameter of a small apple. Let them take some heat until they become golden brown, then take them out of the skillet (with a flat spatula if you like) and place them on a paper towel to cool. What once was a powdery mix of flour and cheese, has cooked together to form the tiles of our mille-feuille.
3) Finally, we are going to bake these tomatoes. Cut all of them in half, right through their prime meridian. On your favorite cookie sheet place them all on their backs, and sprinkle sugar all over them and then hit them each with a dash of oil. They are ready for the oven (at 350° F / 180° C), but keep on an eye on them, and take them out when they look like they do in photo, let’s say for 10 minutes.
The rest is going to depend on your plating ingenuity. We went with some eggplant cavier, a Parmasen tile, a layer of tomatoes and another Parmesan tile. Then we drizzled balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top. How you do this step is entirely up to you, you can put the tomatoes and eggplant in a bowl and use the tiles as chips if that’s the kind of thing that you’d be in to. Or break the tiles in halves and them stick out of a layer of eggplant. You’ll figure it out.
There’s photos of the entire process on Flickr. Bon appetit.