Julia Child’s Eggplant Caviar with Walnuts

August 31, 2021

or la tentation de Bramafam

One thing I miss about my life in Boston is Moveable Feasts. I miss the meals that lasted for hours, my friends that made me laugh and cry and laugh until I cried, and the delicious food. Over the years, Julia Child’s recipes featured prominently. We even had an entire feast dedicated to her.

I don’t remember which feast inspired me to try this recipe but as I thumbed through my volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I came upon this recipe. Other than the name, La Tentation de Bramafam, this recipe did not seem to be what I would consider a French dish – Mediterranean, yes, French, not so much. It was enough that I was intrigued and decided to make it.

(A quick note about the recipe name. I did some Internet sleuthing and discovered that Domaine de Bramafam was Simone Beck’s home in Provence. Julia Child had a home, La Pitcholine, on the property. Thus the name of this dish, translates to the Temptation of Bramafam.)

At the end of summer, this is a great dish to make use of the abundance of eggplant. Yes, you need to turn on the oven which may not be preferable in the heat but I find it is well worth the effort. I prefer to eat the tentation at room temperature when it is softer but also find myself impatient enough to eat it straight from the refrigerator.

This post is dedicated to my friend Susie, who was not fond of eggplant. She tried this dish and it changed her mind about eggplant so much so that she named it Eggplant Loveliness.

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La Tentation de Bramafam (Eggplant Caviar with Walnuts)


  • Author: Julia Child
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 40 1x

Description

This delicious dip comes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 2 (with minor adjustments). It is delicious on baguette toasts or with crudité and lovely for a picnic or pot luck.


Ingredients

Scale

About 2 pounds firm, shiny, unblemished eggplant

8 ounces walnuts (about 2 cups), ground to a medium coarse meal

1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

1 to 4 large cloves of garlic, or to taste

4 to 6 squirts Tabasco or other hot sauce, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

5 to 8 tablespoons olive oil


Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut off the green cap of the eggplant. For larger eggplant, cut in half lengthwise and place in a shallow roasting dish. For smaller eggplant, keep whole and place in a shallow roasting dish. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until thoroughly soft to the touch.

Scoop out the eggplant flesh into the bowl of a food processor (cut small eggplant lengthwise to easily access the flesh). Process to purée the eggplant.

Add the ground walnuts, salt, pepper, garlic, Tabasco, allspice, and ginger. Process to mix.

With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to form a creamy mass. The mixture should hold its shape softly when lifted with a spoon, not runny.

Taste and correct the seasonings. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of smoked paprika or za’atar.

Notes

The dip will keep for several days in the refrigerator. It may also be frozen.

Julia Child also suggests using the tentation as a filling for hard-boiled eggs or tomato shells, or to pass with cold meats or chicken.

From Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol 2 © 1970 by Julia Child and Simone Beck

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Dips, Spreads
  • Cuisine: French

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 75.96
  • Sugar: 0.66 g.
  • Sodium: 85.99 mg.
  • Fat: 7.41 g.
  • Saturated Fat: 0.82 g.
  • Carbohydrates: 2.29 g.
  • Fiber: 0.85 g.
  • Protein: 1.21 g.
  • Cholesterol: 0

Keywords: eggplant, walnuts Julia Child

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