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Golden Eggplant with Creamy French Feta and Croutons

from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen by Chester Hastings
Golden Eggplant with Creamy French Feta and Croutons

8 to 10 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggplants/aubergines, cut into 3/4 inch dice
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 lb French feta cheese
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
1 cup day-old French bread, cut or torn into 3/4-inch pieces

Serves 4 to 6

This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in The Cheesemonger's Kitchen: Celebrating Cheese in 75 Recipes
by Chester Hastings from Chronicle Books


I love Greek feta. I love Bulgarian feta. And I could not live without French feta. A fairly recent creation, French feta comes from the south of France and is creamier, milder, and far less salty than its Eastern cousins. In my refrigerator at home, I keep a piece of French feta with a good amount of the brine in which it is cured.

French feta - whether cut into chunks and tossed with butter/Boston lettuce, grapefruit, and thin slices of red onion or crumbled over cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, a splash of extra-virgin olive oil, and loads of fresh basil - is a great rescue for last-minute lunch dilemmas. It is also divine warm and blends beautifully with eggplant/aubergine.

Heat a large frying pan or flat-top griddle over medium heat. Add a bit of the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and then add the eggplant/aubergine in small batches. Saute for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown, seasoning well with salt and pepper.

Add a bit of oil as needed, but remember that the eggplant/aubergine will take what you give it and keep asking for more.

Transfer the cooked eggplant/aubergine to a warm serving dish. Crumble the feta and basil over the eggplant/aubergine.

Fry the bread pieces in the remaining oil for about 3 minutes, or until crispy and golden. Scatter the croutons over the eggplant/aubergine and serve hot or at room temperature.

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