Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IHCC: Starters & Nibbles

Starters and nibbles this week. Nibbles I'm not so good at, but starters are always nice. I often try to follow the French still of meal planning where you have a starter, a main, and an after, either cheese or sweet. This doesn't work all the time, but it's a pattern I try to keep in mind.

A browse through my Slater books turned up Goat's Cheese and Olive Aubergines in The 30-Minute Cook (p33). This is meant as a main dish for two, where you each get a whole eggplant to yourself. I scaled it back so I could serve it as a starter.

Since I needed just two thickish slices of eggplant, rather than frying then, I just brushed on a bit of olive oil and cooked them under the broiler. They ended up with quite nice grill marks which are invisible in the finished dish. Once the slices are done, you simply spread on a thick layer of green tapenade, top with a bit of goat cheese (I used little rounds of cabécou), sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan, and pop them back under the broiler till the cheese is nicely melted. Serve warm.


Only after I scaled the recipe back did I realize this is very similar to a recipe that I picked up from a French cooking magazine for a munchy that can be served with your aperitif or as a starter. That uses artichoke bottoms, either fresh (eh) or frozen (yes!), instead of the eggplant. This is a nice variation, since it can be easily picked up with the fingers for munching. An artichoke bottom is less floppy than a slice of cooked eggplant. I've done this with both green and black tapenade, and prefer the green for the less assertive taste in this case.

Check out this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs to see what kind of nibbling other folk are up to.

8 comments:

  1. Goat cheese, that sounds devine. I think aubergine slice are much easier to prepare than artichokes ...

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  2. Yes please! ;-) These look amazing. I love the eggplant-tapenade-goat cheese combination. What a great starter for a warm summer night.

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  3. That sounds like a great combination of flavours, especially the variation with artichokes.

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  4. This is such a simple but tasty little bite! I am such a fan of eggplant, but my husband not so much. This would be a terrific and easy starter for a dinner party with friends ... thanks! It's completely new to me and I'm liking it !

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  5. This looks delicious! Though I've never tried goat's cheese before, I can see that this is really good.
    Goat's cheese is not easily available in the area where I live, and I have been looking for them for ages!

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  6. Goat cheese, tapenade, aubergine - I'm in. This sounds absolutely delicious.

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  7. A perfectly balance starter and so very pretty on the plate! I'd have to eat two:)

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  8. With all the eggplant coming out of the garden I am always looking for new delicious ways to use it. thanks for this one.

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