Eggplant Caviar

By David Cohlmeyer


Makes 2 cups

Charred eggplant skin adds a marvellous smoky aroma to eggplant’s delicate flavour.

2                      medium purple (Black Beauty) eggplants with fresh green calyxes (the husk crowning the stem end) attached

3 tbsp              extra virgin olive oil

1                      small onion, diced

1                      medium sweet red pepper, diced

1/2                   jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

2                      medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced

2 tbsp              chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp              freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more if needed

1/2 tsp             sea salt, plus more if needed

Preheat the grill on high (or the oven to 500º F). Using a paring knife, poke two holes into each eggplant to release steam and prevent a messy explosion. Grill the eggplants (or place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast them) until well charred, about 25 minutes. Remove the eggplants from the grill (or oven) and let cool completely. Cut the eggplants open and scrape out the flesh. Coarsely chop the flesh; transfer to a colander to drain.

In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, red pepper, and jalapeño pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, and salt. Stir in the drained eggplant. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed.

Remove the eggplant from the heat and serve it warm as a condiment or a spread on hearty bread or crackers. Or transfer it to a covered container and refrigerate for up to two weeks. When serving the eggplant cold, taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed. (Refrigeration tends to mute the intensity of seasonings.)