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One French word: aubergine, a (French) recipe: salade Marocaine aux aubergines

Aubergine, feminine noun (une aubergine, l’aubergine, des aubergines) = eggplant (pronounced oh-bear-jean with a soft j, with equal stress on each syllable).

Une aubergine is used to denote a bruised and violet bump resulting from a fight (il a une aubergine au front = he has a violet coloured lump on his forehead).

Aubergine is also a colour, of course, and then becomes an invariable adjective.

No information on the etymological origins of the word seems to be available.

Une aubergine used to be the familiar name for a lady traffic warden, the kind who gives parking tickets, because of the colour of their uniform. That colour has now changed to an awful bright blue (at least you can see them coming a mile off), and they are known as pervenches (= periwinkles, a blue flower). The proper term for a traffic warden is une contractuelle. I don’t know why these are all female? Maybe just Paris? Where I live it is men that give parking tickets. Often.

Salade marocaine aux aubergines

Salade marocaine aux aubergines

My recipe is a salade marocaine aux aubergines,  a Moroccan eggplant salad, called zaalouk in its country of origin.

Moroccan aubergine salad, main ingredients

For four people you will need

  • 3 large aubergines
  • 6 large cloves of garlic
  • 8 large cocktail tomatoes (larger than cherry tomatoes, that you buy on the stem)
  • some good quality tomato sauce, or pasta sauce
  • 3tbs olive oil
  • 1tbs honey
  • 1tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chopped dried whole chili
  • 3tbs chopped parsley
  • 2tbs chopped fresh mint
  • salt
  • pepper


Aubergine frying

  1. Put a saucepan of salted water to boil.
  2. Cut the aubergines with their skin into dice sized cubes.
  3. Peel the garlic and cut three cloves in half. Finely chop the other three.
  4. Poach the aubergines and the halved garlic cloves for 10 minutes in barely boiling water.
  5. While this is going on, cut the cocktail tomatoes in half and fry gently in olive oil. When they soften, add a tbs of honey, the other three garlic cloves, finely chopped. Stir and continue to fry gently.
  6. Add 1tsp cumin, 1tbs chopped parsley, 1/4 tsp chopped dried chili (optional, this dish should not be hot, just full of flavour).
  7. Drain the aubergine and add to the pan, stir and crush the cubes with the back of the spoon.
  8. Add 3tbs tomato sauce and continue cooking until the aubergine is quite soft and no longer forms cubes.
  9. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Serve sprinkled liberally with more chopped parsley and fresh chopped mint.

Salade d’aubergines marocaine

This “salad” can be served hot as a vegetable with a meat dish, alone as part of a vegetarian meal, warm as a salad, or cold. It keeps well until the next day, and so can be used in two different ways. It is smooth, slightly sweet, slightly chili hot, with lots of textures and flavours to discover.

Salade d’aubergines marocaine

Bon appétit.


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

4 responses »

  1. Wow! This looks very tasty and again a combination of spices that is new for me.
    Am I to understand that in France one might “faire le poireau” with “une aubergine” on one’s forehead?

  2. I love eggplant, but the word aubergine is so much more melodic!!! I will print this recipe out!!

  3. I’ve got behind, but I am reading them all. Funnily enough, I have never seen une aubergine (traffic warden) or even une pervenche down here but then this really is la France profonde.

    I like North African food – spicy without being too hot. Just wish I could persuade my husband to give it a try more often.


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