Michael, our sous chef, created this recipe in the original girl & the fig kitchen for an article on eggplants a few years ago. I love the way the grill looks with the purple-skinned eggplants lined up. This is a recipe you can start on your outdoor grill over a charcoal fire and finish over the stove. The balsamic vinegar helps caramelize the eggplant skins and give this soup a unique flavor.
- Yield: 6 servings
- 2 pounds Japanese eggplant, trimmed and cut lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons blended oil (1 part olive oil, 3 parts canola oil)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 medium onions, sliced thin
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche
- 1/4 cup roasted red pepper thinly sliced
- Toss the eggplant gently with 2 tablespoons of the blended oil, the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a stainless steel bowl. Char the eggplant on a grill, turning to cook evenly. Set the eggplant aside.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of blended oil and the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan and sauté the onions until translucent. Chop the grilled eggplant and add to the sautéed onions. Cover with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Purée the soup mixture in a blender and add the lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with crème fraîche and roasted pepper slices.
Beverage Pairing: Château Roquefort Bordeaux Blanc, France. The complex mélange of flavors—sweet, bitter, smoky, sharp—in this dish demands a wine with same. Bordeaux Blanc, a mixture of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, provides it. This wine is heavy on the former grape, giving it good acidity and bite, tempered by fresh fruit with a little toast and sweetness.