eggplant caviar (ikra)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes + time to roast eggplant
Keywords: saute roast appetizer side vegetarian vegan Russian
Ingredients (about 2 cups)
- 1 eggplant, about 1 pound / 450 g
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion/ 3 ounces / 85 g, finely chopped (possibly a sweet and mild kind, like cipollini)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat the oven to 375 F / 190 C.
Prick the eggplant in several places with a fork (this is required), and place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or aluminum foil. Roast until soft, easily pierced with a blade. After 30 minutes, turn it and gauge how much longer it needs.
Cut a cross at the bottom of the eggplant and let it drain in a colander for 15 minutes. Cut the top and then peel the eggplant (work slowly so that only the skin comes away, strip by strip). Chop the eggplant finely with a knife. Using a food processor for this step is discouraged because you want the eggplant to keep some texture. I take a middle course and process the chopped pulp briefly with an immersion blender. Set aside.
In the meantime, warm up the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and stir well. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook the onion stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes or until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic, stir and continue cooking for 2 minutes.
Add the eggplant and the tomato paste to the skillet, stir and continue cooking for 10 minutes on gentle heat, stirring frequently and making sure nothing sticks to the skillet. Add a bit more olive oil or a splash of hot water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and stir well.