A Gypsy Favorite: Catouns, or Grilled Eggplant, Recipe

Gypsy food is influenced by many cultures and foods; a favorite being grilled eggplant, almost burned, called "catouns."

Summer 2014

  • The simplest way for the gypsies to enjoy eggplant was to start a barbecue and do what they call the “catouns.”
    Photo courtesy iStock/Joe_Potato

Total Hands-On Time: Approx. 20 min

Yield: 1 mid-size platter

Gypies know of many ways of cooking eggplant throughout their years of discovering and distributing the vegetable across the world, but how do the Gypsies prefer the eggplant when they set their tents, caravans, and trailers for the annual pilgrimage at the beach of Saintes-Maries de la Mer in Camargue? The simplest way: they start a barbecue and do what they call the “catouns” (from a word meaning “burned”).



• 6 small oblong eggplants
• 18 garlic cloves
• First cold press olive oil
• Salt


1. Wash the eggplants after removing the stems.

2. Peel the garlic and slice the cloves in half in the length. Insert the pieces of garlic inside the flesh of the eggplants.

3. Let cook on the barbecue, turning them from time to time until they are soft and have burned skin; then put in a dish and cut each eggplant in the length; add a little bit of salt and gently pour olive oil. Eat quickly with a spoon.

Richard Bernard grew up in France and his life with seeds has taken him to many places around the world. Richard lives with his wife Celine in Santa Fe, where he helps local seed saving initiatives and manages the farmers’ market for the Pueblo of Pojoaque. 

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