About Paper Napkins

    I write down almost every meal I have ever enjoyed in my diary. And I have a lot of diaries stacked on the bookshelf. Some meals were remembered on the back of a paper napkin, which I then tucked into my diary. Some were remembered from a wine label soaked off, dried, and kept as a memento.

    And then there were those to be forgotten, yet were remembered. As in the meal my friend's mother cooked for us one day when I was in my teens. Evaporated milk from a can was the main ingredient of the dessert she made for us. Onto our plates, right before our eyes, a can of peas was emptied. Then a can of tuna. Then a can of french fried onions, which his mother crushed in her hands and sprinkled on top. 

    My friend grew up eating out of a can. It is for this reason that I take such great pleasure cooking for him, because when I do he is delighted at having something to eat that wasn't out of a can. And this is the long explanation of why I decided to make him a home cooked meal for his birthday. It didn't take very long, other than preparing the eggplant the night before, and it was absolutely delicious paired with a good Bordeaux and candle light.

    I ran out of room in my diary, so I saved the recipe as I developed it on the back of a big paper napkin……because it turned out to be a meal to be remembered.

    The first part is to marinate eggplant slices overnight in the refrigerator in a slightly sweet honey thyme bath. 

    When you are ready to prepare the dish, allow yourself about half an hour. You will want to make a fresh raw tomato sauce to circle the dish with, and a simple breadcrumb crust to top the filet mignon with.

About Paper Napkins
    This dish is not the most beautiful dish I have ever made, but it is by far one of the most delicious and satisfying. The sizzling crust on the top of the filet mignon has a kick of mustard and crushed peppercorns. The filet is butter tender. The eggplant layer below is custardy and aromatic. And the fresh tomato sauce surrounding it all is a stunning reminder of how good a raw tomato sauce can be.

    Good food is a gift to be shared and enjoyed together. I hope my friend liked his homemade birthday gift. I enjoyed his smile across the table and sharing it with him.

About Paper Napkins

Serves Two

Printable Recipe

Filet Mignon with Candied Eggplant

Candied Eggplant


  • 2 small eggplant, washed and pat dry
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Cooking Directions

  1. Slice the eggplants into 1/8 inch slices.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the eggplant slices to cook them on high for about 2 minutes on each side or until they are lightly browned.
  3. In another saucepan, add the vinegar, honey, water, thyme leaves, salt and cinnamon and bring to a boil.
  4. Lay the eggplant slices in a large dish and pour the honey vinegar sauce over them. Allow to cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or for 24 hours.

Fresh Raw Tomato Sauce


  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Slice the Roma tomatoes and add them to a food processor.
  2. Whizz until pureed.
  3. Hold a fine sieve over a bowl and pour the tomato mixture into the sieve, then using a spoon, press the tomato mixture through the sieve so that you have tomato liquid in the bowl.
  4. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and sea salt and whisk well.

Crust For Filet Mignons


  • 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed black or pink peppercorns

Filet Mignons


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 6 ounce to 8 ounce filet mignons

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil until it is very hot in a saute pan then add the filet mignons and cook for 1 minute each side to brown. Reserve.

To Assemble The Dish:


  • 2 Plates (warmed) and fresh thyme to garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat the broiler of your oven.
  2. Put a dollop of the crust on top of the filets mignons and run them under the broiler until the crust is sizzling and golden brown. Remove.
  3. Remove the eggplant slices from the oven and overlap the slices on each plate in the center.
  4. Place the filet mignon on top of the eggplant slices.
  5. Spoon the fresh raw tomato sauce around the eggplant and serve.

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Thank you, enjoy!


About the Author

3 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. diabeticFoodie March 21, 2012 at 8:37 am -

    What a great birthday gift!

  2. OmStone Aromas March 21, 2012 at 8:43 am -

    Perfect meal for a sunny day. My mother in law makes something very similar to this egg plant dish but she uses garlic and parsley. It is just too good.

  3. hillary March 21, 2012 at 10:18 am -

    thank you DiabeticFoodie……xxxoooo and OmStone Aromas, it was a sunny day! I love eggplant when it is not fried, and this one was as soft as a pillow.

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