This Recipe includes
|(Optional) Bacon lardons|
|(Optional) Anchovies preserved in salt and oil|
Spices, herbs and flavoring ingredients:
|Salt and pepper|
Why we love it
If you are looking for a quick and easy eggplant recipe, the bohemian aubergine might be just what you are looking for. This classic dish from the south of France has been a summer favorite for many a generation. While it isn’t the prettiest of dishes, there is a wholesomeness to it with the flavors of all the fresh vegetables melding together in harmony.
The bohémienne, as it is called in French, originates from the Comtat Venaissin which was initially part of the Papal States when the Catholic popes were installed in Avignon in the 13th century. (The region remained separate until it was dissolved after the French Revolution in what is now the department of Vaucluse in Provence.)
Now the Bohemian eggplant has a lot in common with that other French dish featuring the eggplant, the ratatouille. For one, both recipes are from Provence, and the bohémienne is usually considered a variant of the more famous ratatouille. (Hence the Pixar film!)
However, the ratatouille usually has zucchini (courgettes) along eggplant, while the Bohemian Aubergine from Provence usually includes anchovies as an influence from the Mediterranean. The Bohemian also has a slightly sweeter and tangier taste, with either balsamic vinegar or granulated sugar added.
In addition, you can also choose to add a touch of bacon to your bohemian aubergine, which just adds a touch more fat to the dish to bring out the flavors.
Chopping the ingredients
Now one of the questions that often comes up is what size to cut all the ingredients. Basically, you want to cut the aubergines and the tomatoes into 2-3 cm carré cubes.
The onions should be a bit smaller, in small dice macedonie style (around 4mm) to make them easier to cook. I recommend prepping all the ingredients before starting to cook (aka the French mise en place), but you do have time to chop the tomatoes a little later while the dish is already on the stove.
In addition, there are a lot of spices on the list, but in essence this is a French bouquet garni. You don’t need to have every single one, a French bouquet garni involves mixing and matching what you have.
What to serve with it?
What drinks to serve with it?
In terms of wine, a bottle of lighter red wine or rosé usually pairs well with bohemian aubergines. It is meant to be a summer dish, so a lighter wine is suggested. A Côtes de Provence rosé or Bouches du Rhône red will go well to keep with the provençale theme. You can read more about French wines here.
How to store it?
Eggplant tends to retain water inside and get soft, so I found that it is best to serve it right after cooking. If you do decide to prepare it in advance, leave it on the countertop at room temperature instead of putting it in the fridge (up to 2-3 hours).
If you intend to freeze bohemian aubergines, I recommend taking out the portion that you are going to freeze before it is fully cooked (around the 20-minute mark). It will retain its consistency better without becoming too watery when you go to reheat it.
Let the bohemian aubergines cool a bit outside before placing it in the freezer. I’d also recommend storing it in one of those hermetically sealed glass containers when storing it in the freezer. This helps avoid freezer burn.
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Bohemian Aubergines (Eggplant) Recipe
- 1 kg of eggplants
- 3 large tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 handful of fresh parsley leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of dried thyme
- olive oil
- 50 ml of balsamic vinegar
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Optional 100 g bacon lardons
- Optional 2 anchovies preserved in salt and oil
- Wash the eggplants and cut into 2-3 cm cubes.
- Peel and chop the onion into small cubes.
- Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
- (Optional) If cooking with lardons, add the bacon lardons to the pan and start to cook it.
- Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan and start to cook the onions for a couple of minutes.
- Add the eggplant, garlic, salt, pepper, and garlic and stir.
- Cook covered for 5 minutes.
- Chop the tomatoes into small pieces while waiting.
- Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, thyme, bay leaf and parsley leaves to the pan and stir.
- (Optional) If cooking with anchovies, chop them up and add them to the pan mix.
- Cover pan and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir the pan once in a while to prevent burning. Add water if necessary.
- Serve while warm.
If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt !