Aubergine ‘caviar’

Not fishy at all, and really not that similar to caviar, it’s not even very pretty, but it is very yum.

Not only is it not fishy at all, but actually it’s not very much like caviar in any other way (which some people might think is a good thing), but it is a fantastic way to get the very most flavour possible out of an aubergine.

The name comes from the texture, which is vaguely caviarish, and probably would have been much more so in the past when aubergines were much seedier than they are today. It really doesn’t look all that attractive, but the taste and the texture more than make up for it.

I actually have no idea what the origin of this dish is. The first time that I saw it was from a Gordon Ramsay recipe, but I’ve made a hell of a lot of it since then. It’s easy and flexible, you can vary the amount of garlic, oil and herbs to your own taste, and it’s pretty difficult to not get a great result.

Probably the best thing of all about this aubergine caviar is that it’s really versatile. It’s great served hot, warm or cold. You could put it in little canapés, or just serve it in a big bowl with plenty of fresh crusty bread or breadsticks to dip in it.

and the recipe goes like…

Ingredients

  • 2 medium aubergines
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp rock salt
  • Few sprigs of thyme and rosemary
  • Olive oil, to drizzle
  • 150ml sour cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • 1 lemon
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

  2. Cut the aubergines in half lengthways, and score a diamond pattern into the flesh with the point of your knife. Take care not to cut deep and go through the skin of the aubergine.

  3. Peel the garlic cloves and cut each one in halves. Rub one piece of garlic thoroughly over the surface of each half aubergine.

  4. Push sprigs of thyme and rosemary into the cuts in the aubergine flesh. Rosemary on one half of each aubergine, and thyme on the other half.

  5. Drizzle olive oil over each half, and sprinkle with salt, then sandwich each aubergine back together, and wrap it tightly in foil. Twist the foil tightly up at each end of the aubergines, like a Christmas cracker.

  6. Put the foil wrapped aubergines into the preheated oven and bake them for about 35 minutes, then take them out and allow them to cool slightly.

  7. Unwrap the aubergines, take out the sprigs of herbs and throw them away. Scrape all of the flesh out of the skins onto a chopping board, and throw the skins away.

  8. Finely chop the flesh until you are left with a coarse paste. Don’t worry about the fact that this doesn’t look very appetising, it is going to taste fantastic.

  9. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a saucepan, and then add the aubergine paste. Cook it over a high heat for about 30 seconds, stirring it all of the time, until you can see that the juices evaporate and the pulp thickens.

  10. Take it off of the heat, and stir in the coriander and sour cream, add a good squeeze of lemon, and transfer it into a bowl.

Eat it hot, leave it to cool, or if lasts that long you can even keep it in the fridge for a day or two.

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