This morning when I went to the greengrocer’s, I was pleasantly surprised to find some small eggplants. The idea immediately came in my head: eggplants “à la Bonifacienne”. This speciality of the south of Corsica is a delight: eggplants stuffed with cheese, fried and served with tomato sauce.
I found the recipe in a small book of Corsican cooking that my grandfather gave me. I remember being intrigued because I don’t think I had ever had any as a child with my grandparents. This recipe is a culinary tradition of the South of the island, and my family comes from the North, so maybe that explains why. Anyway, it didn’t take me long before I tried it and adopted it!
By digging a little, I learned that this recipe was traditionally cooked on September 8th. On this date, the Bonifacians went to the Hermitage of the Trinity, a small monastery overlooking the city, in order to celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary. Then, the families gathered for a picnic and shared the eggplant à la Bonifacienne.
This recipe also was a way to use any stale bread and the leftover old cheeses that are integrated into the stuffing, in order to avoid any waste.
We use to stuff the eggplants, 3 kinds of Corsican cheeses: 1 fresh, 1 half dry and 1 dry. Traditionally, in Corsica cheeses are all made with ewe’s milk. It is certainly not easy to find Corsican cheese everywhere, so we can replace them with others cheeses such as tomme of ewe or pecorino.
Eggplants “à la bonifacienne”Season: summer
- small eggplants 8
- ewe's tomme divided between fresh, semi-dry and dry tommes 400 g
- eggs 2
- stale breadcrumbs 200 g
- garlic 2 cloves
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Tomato sauce
- Soak breadcrumbs in milk.
- Grate the cheese.
- Pre-cook the eggplants for 20 minutes in boiling salted water.
- Mince the garlic.
- Cut the eggplants in half. Empty the flesh without cutting the skin so as to keep the shells.
- Prepare the stuffing: coarsely chop the eggplant flesh, add breadcrumbs, garlic, eggs, cheese and basil.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Mix well.
- Fill the eggplant shells with the stuffing.
- Fry the eggplants in hot olive oil.
- Serve them covered with hot tomato sauce.