This pan-Eurasian eggplant starter has as many variations as there are distinct cuisines in the greater Eurasia region. The Azerbaijani version, from Feride Buyuran’s Pomegranates and Saffron, is distinguished by a touch of vinegar added at the end, which adds a wonderfully subtle layer of complexity.

A couple of things before you start: eggplant needs LOTS of salt to be properly seasoned, err on the side of lower heat in the last step to avoid drying it out, and maybe chop the pepper a little finer than everything else, since it is the crispiest thing added closest to the end.

Eggplant Caviar

  • Prep Time:20 minutes
  • Cook Time:90 minutes
  • Total Time:110 minutes
  • Servings:1 large bowl for a group, or many bites for individual snacking.
  • Medium

    Ingredients

  • Eggplants (2 pounds) before cooking
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper
  • Salt
Photo by Valentine Bratoff
Photo by Valentine Bratoff

Step 1

Char or roast eggplants for peeling. If roasting, cook eggplants for 30-40 minutes at 400ºF. After peeling, chop flesh roughly.

Step 2

Oil your pan and cook the onion until soft and translucent (7-10 minutes). Avoid coloring.

Step 3

Evaporate some liquid from the tomatoes (5 minutes).

Step 4

Add eggplant and peppers and season to taste. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring from time to time, until liquid is evaporated and mixture smooth (40 minutes).

Step 5

About 5 minutes before you remove the pan from heat, stir in vinegar.

#SpoonTip: Double check the seasoning because vinegar counteracts salt.

Step 6

Allow to cool and leave to sit at least 3 hours before eating. It will only get better over time.

Photo by Valentine Bratoff
Photo by Valentine Bratoff