Eggplant Caviar with Herbs | Cook the Book Fridays

The variety of eggplant available at the farmers market is astounding: globe or American, Italian, Japanese, and Indian. It’s a good thing. I like choices, except it’s a bit bewildering. What’s the right kind of eggplant to choose for a certain dish?

I knew I needed some eggplants, but somehow I did not read closely enough what’s needed for David’s recipe. Then I picked up some round globe eggplants thinking that, well, I needed some big and sturdy ones to withstand the flame of a gas burner, the first of the two-step procedure in cooking the eggplants. I guessed right, but wait!

Second step: roast eggplants in 375°F oven


Size matters. From cooking through this recipe, I can say from experience that the smallest skinniest eggplant, among those I purchased, gave me a much harder time to scrape the pulp out after the second roasting step.

Alrighty, I’ll be sure to pick out big round compact globe eggplants that’d hold up well against the two-step cooking process for this dish. (Char first on the grill or stovetop, then finish cooking in the oven.) They’d fit better over the gas stove and they have more flesh to scrape out after roasting in the oven.

Eggplant is a subtle vegetable that can work with strong herbs. I picked some basil from the garden. Herbs like rosemary or marjoram could stand up well against the eggplant for an aromatic dip. Furthermore, eggplant can take on even richer, meatier flavor when it’s enhanced with miso or tahini. There are a lot of possibilities cooking with eggplant. Probably, this is a starting point from which to take off in endless directions. I’m already planning for the next dish!

What I like most about this dish is the smoky flavor. I’d develop that smokiness further next time. I served this dip together with a beet dip to pair with some vegetables: green beans, cucumbers, roasted tomatoes and potatoes for a light dinner on a hot summer day.

Please see how our friends at Cook-the-book-fridays tackle this dish. We are a group of home cooks who have gathered to cook through the recipes in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, one recipe at a time. Come join the group and cook along with us.


The mise en place for the eggplant caviar

First step: char whole eggplant on the gas stove until smoky

Add other ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and herbs

Mix and smash everything with the cooked eggplants


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  • Reply
    Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    August 4, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Yours looks great! I didn’t smoke mine this time but will do once I have access to a flame! I loved this one too!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    You mixed and mashed them by hand too, right? I prefer this texture personally. Love your dinner pairing with this, sounds delightful!

    • Reply
      August 8, 2017 at 12:48 am

      Yes, it was not a big amount and I mashed them by hand. No food processor to clean.

  • Reply
    Chez Nana
    August 5, 2017 at 11:56 am

    I don’t think mine were smokey enough since I had to do that part under the broiler, but the rest of the recipe was easy and the dish turned out quite well.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Your dish looks delicious! I agree, so many different eggplants!

    I did all of my cooking on the grill. Could have been smokies I suppose, but smoked paprika and roasted garlic was a great combination. So happy you enjoyed this!!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Liked your post, as usual. I don’t have a grill or gas stove so charred my eggplants (2 big globes weighing 2 1/2 together) under the broiler and finished off in oven. It worked perfectly and actually the inside was pretty well cooked just from the broiler charring. I would probably cut the garlic a bit but liked this dish very much. Just got another eggplant in my CSA box so what to do?

    • Reply
      August 8, 2017 at 12:55 am

      Charring on the stovetop works real fast and it’s my preferred method of roasting eggplants, except some of my eggplants were too long.

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