Organized by season with informative sidebars on key ingredients, Simple Nature: 150 New Recipes for Fresh, Healthy Dishes (Rizzoli, 2017) by Alain Ducasse, serves up soup, salads, main and side dishes, and desserts within each section. An internationally acclaimed chef, Ducasse brings his way of thinking and attitude toward life that shines through in his home cooking. At a time of great waste, industrial farming, and intensive agriculture and fishing, the need for preparing meals that are more oriented toward nature becomes the responsible and mindful way to cook. The following excerpt is from the Summer section, “Condiments.”
• 1 large or 2 medium eggplants (aubergines)
• 1 egg yolk face
• 1 teaspoon mustard
• 1 tablespoon labneh (Lebanese cream cheese) or plain Greek yogurt
• Espelette pepper
Prepare the eggplant
1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash, dry, and halve the eggplants. Prick the flesh all over with a fork and wrap each half in aluminum foil.
2 Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
3 Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Then use a teaspoon to scoop out the flesh into a small bowl. Weigh the flesh. You need 250 grams / 9 ounces.
Make the eggplant mayonnaise
Mix the egg yolk with the mustard in a bowl. Add the labneh and mix well. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the eggplant and mix well. Season with salt. Transfer to another bowl and sprinkle with a little Espelette pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (cling film) and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Alain Ducasse- If you can’t find labneh, the Lebanese cream cheese, make it yourself. Mix the contents of one container of yogurt with a good pinch of salt. Put it in a strainer lined with cheesecloth or muslin and let it drain in the refrigerator for at least eight hours.
Paule Neyrat- You might want to make it with several cups of yogurt, given the time it takes to make. This labneh is useful and can accompany crudités. I love this eggplant mayonnaise; it’s super light and has lots of calcium.
Reprinted with permission from Simple Nature by Alain Ducasse and published by Rizzoli New York, 2017.