When the aroma of roasting eggplant fills the kitchen, everyone comes around to see what’s in the works. Even those who tell you they don’t like eggplant seem interested.
The first time I made this recipe we had a house full of people, a weekend work project underway, and an assortment of ages coming through the dining room. Veronica, Chris, and I sat at a side table dipping eggplant caviar with pieces of flat bread. It was a great mid-afternoon break.
Then a ten-year-old boy joined us. He dipped and ate with as much gusto as we did. His younger brother joined us. Same response. Fortunately, the two little guys filled up more quickly than we did and left us with a few more bites to go around.
A few minutes later the dad came through looking for his boys. We pointed him in the right direction, assuring him that they were not hungry. No indeed! The dad came closer, peering into the almost empty bowl of eggplant caviar. His eyes widened. “My boys ate that?!”
Yes, they did, with great relish.
If you like eggplant at all, I’m telling you this is finger-licking good.
Part of the flavor comes from roasting the vegetables. There is no substitute for roasting. The flavors intensify. The sugars begin to caramelize. In the accompanying picture you can see the miniature eggplant. I’ve seen it posted as Persian eggplant. Use any type of fresh eggplant, I just happened to have these ready in my garden. You will also notice some zucchini in the roasting pan. I had the zucchini and there was room, so I roasted it and ate it as a snack. The zucchini did not go into the eggplant caviar.
This dip is best if you allow it a few hours for the flavors to blend. Make it ahead of time and plan to serve it at room temperature. Try serving eggplant caviar along side hummus and olives. Include a good quality flat bread and make a meal of it. The following recipe will serve 4 to 6 people.
Eggplant Caviar Ingredients
- 2 medium eggplant
- 2 red bell peppers
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons safflower oil or high heat oil of choice
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons capers, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste
Eggplant Caviar Steps
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Remove the stems from the peppers and remove the seeds. Cut the peppers in half.
- Oil the peppers and eggplant with a high-heat oil
- Poke several holes in the eggplant.
- Place the eggplant and peppers in a baking dish. Arrange the peppers with the cut side down. Then tuck the garlic cloves under the pepper halves. This little trick will keep the garlic from burning.
- Pop the roasting pan into the hot oven.
- Depending on the size of your eggplant, it could take 40-45 minutes to roast. The peppers will be done sooner. When the skin on the peppers begins to brown and blister, remove the peppers and garlic from the oven.
- When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the peels and chop up the peppers. Mash the garlic and set it, to the side.
- When the eggplant is roasted through and beginning to collapse, remove it from the oven and cool enough to handle.
- Remove the skin from the cooled eggplant and put the pulp, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice into a blender or food processor. Puree.
- Scrape the puree into a serving bowl. Add the capers, parsley, salt and pepper. Taste and make adjustments on the salt and pepper. Keep in mind what you will be dipping the eggplant caviar with. If using something salty, then you want to be careful in salting the dip.
Allow a couple of hours for the flavors to blend…if you can wait that long!
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