5 June 2007

Caviar Aubergine image

{CAVIAR OF AUBERGINE} The aubergine aka EGGPLANT I must confess is a fruit (actually a berry – yes I know I too grew-up thinking it was a vegetable) that I have never warmed to cooking (no pun intended!!) Until one day it occurred to me – if the texture of the aubergine wants to go soft when cooked, then don’t fight it – make a caviar. And the rest is history.

When I was making this recipe last night I realised that I was short of olive oil and so substituted 1 tablespoon of olive oil for a tablespoon of sesame oil, which was delicious.

You can make this recipe with many different types and sizes of aubergines, but I found that the small dark variety yield the least amount of water and make a thicker caviar, while sicilian aubergines which are generally a lighter purple, larger and round in shape, give a smoother texture and more subtle taste. 

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  • 2 small purple aubergines (eggplants) – weighing approx 560g together
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (ALTERNATIVE :  2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil)
  • 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 pressed garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste

Oven: convection heat 210°C (410°F)

  1. Place whole aubergines in a metal pan, and cook for 35 minutes (turning them once so both sides cook evenly). If you do not have a convection oven than I suggest a cooking time of 40 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes so you don’t burn your fingers tips off like I did the first time!
  3. Next peal the skin off each aubergine and remove the green tops
  4. Place the flesh of the aubergines in a sieve and with a fork press out as much water as you can
  5. In a mixingbowl combine aubergines, olive oil, lemon juice, pressed garlic clove, salt and pepper. Blend together with a hand-mix until smooth.

NOTES: Also take a look at Michelle (of Bleeding Espresso blog ) Italian perspective on aubergines!! 

11 Responses to “CAVIAR D’AUBERGINE”

  1. PA Says:

    Hi E: We made the caviar last night and it was delicious. A big success with our guests as well.

    However, I don’t think it was as flavorful as the one you made in Geneva. I think this was because you used a convection oven and we only have a regular oven. We didn’t recognize this until later and I think we cooked the aubergine less than you did and so the flavor was not as concentrated. You might want to think about adding a regular oven temperature and timing because I think most people still cook in the traditional oven at the stage.

    Hope this helps, D

  2. Erika (Sweet Pea) Says:

    Hi D: pleased you tried the recipe.
    I have taken note of what you said and is true that undercooking does change the taste.
    I will try making the caviar without the convection on next time and report back 🙂

  3. Kalliston Says:

    Hi E: I think Laura and I will try this one next. I really like eggplant and have not used it nearly enough lately. Will send our feedback………

  4. Erika (Sweet Pea) Says:

    Hi K : so pleased you & L. will be trying the recipe, let me know what you think,
    PS if you don’t have a convection oven I would up the temperature to 220°C and cook the aubergines for 35-40 mins…. you know they are almost done when the skins have turned very brown and come away from the flesh of the fruit (ie: if you touch the skin in places it will leave a small indent 🙂

  5. Kristan Says:

    Hi E,

    Well I finally made this dish for Laura and I to have with dinner. I used only one eggplant, as its all I had on hand, and had it in the oven for approx. 40 mins. I did not use a convection oven, but seemed to turn out well none the less. The skin peeled off with such ease and then I mash the flesh of the eggplant into a strainer and removed the water. I then added the ingredients and served.
    The flavour was subtle yet very pleasing to the palet. The hint of citrus combined with garlic and spices with the mild smokey nature of the egggplant was delicious. This will always be an option for a side in my kitchen!

  6. Erika (SWEET PEA) Says:

    Hi K,
    thanks for the feedback 🙂 I think that based on PA’s and your experience, that it is best to cook the aubergines for 40 minutes if you do not have a convection oven. This recipe is great for entertaining as it is easy and you can make it in advance!

  7. Ooh lovely! I have two eggplants sitting here right now that are dying to be caviar 🙂

  8. MICHELLE: hiya, I love when vegetables are just calling out to be cooked with!!! Living in Italy, I imagine that you can also get a wonderful variety of eggplants. Last night a friend suggested adding fresh corriander to the caviar – think I will try this.

  9. Alicia Says:

    Try adding 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
    Drizzle a little Seasoned Rice Vinegar instead of lime juice!
    Sprinkle Grated Parmesan Cheese on top before serving.

    DELICIOUS!!! Thanks for a great recipe!

  10. simona Says:

    hi, thanks for your recipe that I find very well balanced and delicate. If I may give you my suggestion, definitely avoid parmesan which flavour would cover completely the more delicate one of the eggplants: be sure instead to find organic eggplants in which the flavour is a little enhanced; and if you want a most peculiar taste, try cooking your eggplants on a grill. If you feel daring enough, cook them directly on charcoal. When the skin is almost burned, the pulp gets a wonderful smoky taste. I learned that in a turkish cooking lesson in Istanbul..try it, it’s amazing. Thanks again!

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