One evening last week we went to the village bar in Neffiès, L’Escampette, a few kilometres away, for a wonderful supper with our daughter, her partner and some friends, and spent a very enjoyable few hours at a table in the village square outside the bar listening to funky live music by Fonky Nykon. The food and the music, as we expected because we’ve been there many times before, were exceptionally good for a small bar and the highlight and beginning of the three-course menu was a dish of aubergines and goats’ cheese. (The other courses were delicious and beautifully presented too: salmon and gambas en papillote, gardiane de taureau (beef stewed in red wine) for carnivores, and creamy panacotta or tiramisu for dessert.)
I’ve attempted to create my version of the aubergine first course, even though it was rather fiddly to make – my presentation style is a bit more rustic than this usually. I used our 200th aubergine of the season, cut into rounds and roasted in the oven, a fresh goats’ cheese from Mas Rolland, mixed with thyme, chopped garlic, chopped pine nuts, salt and pepper and a little crème fraiche to make it easier to mould and sandwich between the layers of aubergine, and a sliced orange pepper and cherry tomatoes to garnish. At the bar they had garnished it with salad leaves but we haven’t any in the garden at this time of year as it’s too hot for them. I think I’ll go back to arranging food more anarchically across the plates in future, rather than building upwards, but maybe this slightly leaning tower is a good way to celebrate our overproduction of aubergines!