Every week on the Good Food Blog we celebrate Meatless Monday by sharing a vegetarian recipe from our archives.
Sharon Hudgins is the author of The Other Side of Russia: A Slice of Life in Siberia and the Russian Far East, published by Texas A&M University Press. She first shared this recipe for Russian Eggplant Caviar on October 30, 2004.
Russian Eggplant Caviar (Baklazhannaia Ikra)
Yield: 6 servings as an appetizer/dip, 12 servings as a stuffing for medium-size tomatoes.
- 2 large eggplants (2 pounds total)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion (or 5 to 6 small green onions, white and tender green parts), finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced or put through a garlic press
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- Garnish: Chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375–F. Wash the eggplants and pierce them with a fork in several places. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes (depending on their size), until they are very tender when pierced with a knife into the center. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- While the eggplants are cooling, heat the olive oil in a small skillet and saute the chopped onion until golden but not browned. Turn off the heat and stir in the garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, and cayenne.
- Cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the pulp — seeds and liquid, too — onto a cutting board. Coarsely chop the eggplant pulp and transfer it to a bowl. Scrape all the onions and seasoned oil out of the skillet and stir them into the eggplant. Mash the mixture together with a large fork or an old-fashioned potato masher, until the eggplant has absorbed the oil but is still somewhat chunky (not pureed). Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, to let the flavors meld.
- Taste again before serving and add more black pepper, if desired.
- Garnish the top with chopped fresh parsley. Serve as a dip or spread for toasted triangles of yeasty flatbread, or as an accompaniment to grilled meats. Eggplant caviar also makes a delicious stuffing for hollowed-out tomatoes. Garnish the top of each stuffed tomato with chopped fresh parsley.