It’s been a long rainy spring. We needed a hint of summer. The solution? Eggplant gratin with homemade tomato sauce, topped with bubbly cheese. This is a lighter version of a familiar dish, also known as eggplant parmesan, because the eggplant slices are steamed instead of fried before going into the gratin dish. It’s fun to assemble — the whole family can get into the act. Add a sprig of fresh basil and voilà. Summer has arrived.
Gratin d’aubergines / Eggplant gratin
It’s not just the rain this spring, it’s the general climate in France. They have a word for it over here that translates just fine into English: morose. Strikes plus cold gray weather. I have been waiting for a sunny day to go tend my garden in Burgundy. The sun made a rare appearance this week but I couldn’t make the trip because workers are blockading the country’s oil refineries, leading to a gasoline shortage. I had enough in the tank to get down there, but not enough to come back. Meanwhile, it’s tomato planting time…
If this sounds a bit depressing, it is, so let me move on to other subjects. After I posted the cod with pistachios recipe two weeks ago, I realized I had left out the vermouth-flavored sauce that was served with the original version I’d enjoyed at Gustibus, a neighborhood bistro. If you’d like to try it, make a bechamel and add two tablespoons white vermouth. Spoon around — not over — the fish just before serving.
Meantime, after seeing the cod with pistachios post, a friend sent me a similar recipe — cod with a hazelnut crust. Thank you, Mary Bartlett! It’s apparently a big favorite in Oregon. So here it is:
For 2 servings:
1 (10 ounce/300 grams) cod filet
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or other dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
salt and pepper
Cut the cod filet into four portions and season each with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a shallow dish. Mix the panko crumbs and the nuts together in a small bowl.
Dip the cod in the butter and then in the crumb and nut mixture to coat completely.
Arrange the fish on a small baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 425. Bake the fish until the crust is lightly browned and the center is opaque (about 15minutes.)
Serve with lemon wedges.