This traditional Russian roasted eggplant spread is known as “poor man’s caviar” or “eggplant caviar”. To speed up the process, you may roast the vegetables a day in advance.
- 2 medium eggplants*
- 2 red bell peppers*
- About 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 medium vine tomatoes*
- About 2 cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoons finely diced yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley and/or cilantro, plus more to garnish
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar, red wine vinegar, or fresh lemon juice
- 1 medium garlic clove, crushed or grated
- About 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil; set aside.
- Using a fork, poke holes in the eggplants at approximately 2″ intervals. Evenly coat the eggplants and peppers with a few drops of olive oil each. Place the vegetables on the prepared baking sheet and roast until blistered, blackened and mushy, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand, or chill in the refrigerator, until the vegetables are cool enough to handle. (You may chill the vegetables overnight, if desired).
- Meanwhile, cut an X shape into the bottoms of the tomatoes, place them in a bowl, and cover with the boiling water. Let stand for 30 seconds. Drain the hot water and run the tomatoes under cold water. Peel off the tomato skins and discard. Finely dice the tomatoes and place in a large bowl.
- Once cool enough to handle, gently peel the skins off of the roasted vegetables and discard, along with the tops. Split open the peppers and discard the ribs and seeds. Gently squeeze the eggplant flesh with your hands and discard the excess liquid.
- Place the eggplants and peppers into a food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to the bowl with the tomatoes and add the onion, parsley, garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if needed. Let stand for 15 minutes to let the flavors combine. Serve cold or at room temperature. (Leftovers may be refrigerated for up to 5 days).
*This dish is great any time of year, but it’s way more delicious if you use local summer produce, preferably from a farmers market.
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- Calories: 95
- Fiber: 5.6 g
- Protein: 1.9 g
Keywords: russian, ukrainian, eggplant, spread, salad, eggplant caviar