Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Joël Robuchon's Eggplant Compote

No, I didn't make this compote just to say that I've cooked something by Joël Robuchon. Actually, I might have.

Joël Robuchon's compote recipe is simply amazing and amazingly simple. It's not as easy as Alton Brown's Edamame Dip, but both shared a simplicity in method and a complexity in flavors.

The first step was to peel, dice, and steam the eggplant. I've never been one to steam eggplant before because I've only really eaten eggplant grilled or sautéed. I was a little bit worried that the steaming process would drain all of the eggplant's flavor, but who am I to question the great Robuchon? I blindly continued to step number two.

Let's see...Step two....Step two....Coarsely grate a tomato. Oh yea, that kind of makes sen...Wait, huh? Whoever says they've grated a tomato before is probably lying, especially if that person, like myself, has no business in a kitchen.

Rest assured, grating a tomato actually works. In retrospect, I don't know why I was so surprised. It's a tomato versus a grater. Of course it's going to work. Backhanded by Robuchon, once again.

If you thought those first two steps were difficult, don't worry, the rest of the recipe is, as promised, easy peasy. The steamed eggplant should look exhausted and spongy at this point.

With the grated tomato in a skillet, add in the garlic, cumin, and paprika. Wait for the grated tomato juices to reduce and thicken.

Throw in the eggplant and tomato sauce and stir to combine until the thickened sauce noticeably attaches itself to the eggplant. Last, but not least, stir in the vinegar for that little kick and finish the mixture to taste with some lemon zest, cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper.

The end product was a beautiful, glimmering stash of fragrant, juicy, and healthy compote. As suggested, I ate this compote at room temperature with some toasted bread. Each bite was heaven. The intensity of the cumin and paprika gave a ton of depth to the compote without sacrificing the distinct flavor of eggplant. Like Alton Brown's Edamame Dip, the flurry of flavors from the long list of ingredients made each bite have a long taste-life. The steamed eggplant was definitely less fatty and oily than other preparations, which made inhaling the entire bowl more guilt-free than not. The garlic, zest, parsley, and cilantro kicked in at just the right moments, adding brightness and interest to each bite.

After finishing all of my bread with a ton of this compote, I moved on to chips. And when I ran out of chips, I moved on to using a spoon. When the spoon couldn't get to the hard to reach corners of the bowl, I shamelessly used my fingers to get every last bit.

The best part? I can now say that I've cooked something by Joël Robuchon. I kid, I kid. The best part, really, was that I had something to snack on, for about...three minutes.

So worth it.


  1. Ooh that looks delicious. Also, I love the new blog feature. So pretty.


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