I’ve been eating this dish for as long as I can remember. Even as a little girl, I liked it a lot. I am not sure how the name “eggplant caviar” was arrived at, perhaps it’s the little eggplant seeds that are reminiscent of caviar. But no matter what you call it, it’s delicious!! The vegetables for this recipe have to be roasted to the point of being slightly charred. The charring is what gives this dish a slightly smoky flavor. We had a gas stove in our apartment when I was growing up in USSR, and my mom would put the whole vegetables directly on the fire!! I don’t necessarily recommend that as I don’t want anyone to start a house fire accidentally. I simply broiled my vegetables.
For about 4 servings, you will need:
1 large eggplant. I prefer to use long and skinny ones for this, and not so much the puffy round ones you would use to make eggplant parmesan, for instance.
1 large green pepper
1 large tomato
half cup of finely chopped onion
half cup of chopped fresh cilantro
half teaspoon each of salt/ground pepper/coriander seeds
Place the vegetables whole on a greased baking sheet and spray or rub them with olive oil on all sides. Place in your stove under a broiler for about 30 minutes (depending on how close your broiling rack is, the time could be longer or shorter). Check on the veggies often and turn them, using tongs, to make sure all sides are being broiled. By the time the veggies are done broiling, they will be very soft, and the skins will have turned brown in spots, like on the image below. Your house/apartment is sure to be filled with the scent of roasted pepper!!
Now, wrap the broiled vegetables in a foil packet and place in the fridge for an hour or two. This will allow the skins to separate from the vegetable easier later on. In the meantime, chop the red onion and the cilantro, and have a glass of wine (okay, that’s not really part of the recipe). Take out the broiled vegetables, peel off the skins and chop the vegetables finely. You can leave the eggplant seeds in, but not the green pepper seeds (make sure to take out the core). Place chopped veggies into a colander or strainer for a bit, to let the moisture drain out. Finally combine all the chopped vegetables together with the cilantro and the seasonings. I used a hand-held blender to give the whole mixture a bit more of a fine consistency with just 2-3 pulses. Serve chilled. We serve it as a side “salad,” but this can easily double as a bruschetta topping or even a salsa!! If you are not a fan of cilantro (as my husband isn’t), you can give this dish more of an Italian flare, by substituting chopped basil. This is really a delicious dish that’s not very difficult to prepare and you will surely impress your friends and family 🙂 Did I mention that this is a vegan recipe?