French Fridays with Dorie: Eggplant Caviar

We’re in Week 3 of August, and I have to say that I have LOVED all of this month’s choices for French Fridays with Dorie. So far, we made Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar. This week’s recipe for Eggplant Caviar was no exception.

Eggplant is perfectly in season, along with tomatoes and fresh herbs, so the ingredients couldn’t have been better. I roasted the eggplant until it was mushy, than combined it with the various flavorings: lemon (juice and zest), minced garlic, chopped onion, fresh thyme, basil, and cilantro, and the usual salt and pepper to taste. The recipe called for a pinch of piment d’espelette or cayenne. I added a generous pinch of smoked paprika instead, giving it a hint of smoke instead of a tinge of heat. I’m not sure whether it was the right substitution, but I liked the end result. Finally, diced, seeded tomatoes are folded into the concoction, adding a bit more color.

I adore eggplant. I find that people have strong feelings one way or the other about eggplant. I know it’s a generalization, but most people I know that dislike eggplant are men. My dear husband is included in that number, but he is far from the only one.

I made just half the recipe and brought it to work to share with a friend. I also brought whole-wheat pita breads, and we made ourselves sandwiches. I added sliced radishes and cucumbers to the sandwich for some crunch.

Mashed eggplant is definitely not one of the most photogenic of foods. However, it tasted delicious. This would also be great with pita chips for an appetizer or snack. (Have you ever tried Stacy’s? I’m a big fan, especially of the Simply Naked.)

You can find out what other FFwD bloggers thought about this week’s recipe. Check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes, but consider getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.

The final FFwD recipe for August is a fancy French hamburger, so tune in next Friday for a full report.


Posted on 19 August 2011, in Farmers Market, French Fridays with Dorie, Summer and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Ooh, I bet this tasted great with smoked paprika!

  2. Betsy, Yours looks so wonderful…I really enjoyed this one. Love the idea of the smoked paprika. have a lovely week-end!

  3. I agree…I think smoked paprika would be a great addition to this dish!

  4. That’s funny–I thought piment d’espelette was the French word for pimenton de la vera (smoked paprika?). Right or wrong I bet it worked very nicely. It isn’t photogenic, but it’s such a great use for eggplant.

    • I actually thought they were the same too which is why I used the smoked paprika. I later read the wikipedia entry. Maybe wikipedia is wrong. It’s happened before.

  5. I wish we can get fat, juicy eggplants like the one in your top photo here (ours are slender or the globe types). That’s an interesting observation you made about the differences in eggplant preferences between men and women. Looking through all the posts about this week’s caviar, you could well be right! ;-)

  6. Glad August is such a good month for you :-)
    We had ours with naan & I thought it made a nice spread for that.

  7. I like the use of eggplant caviar as a sandwich spread with veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce etc. I don’t know why men don’t like eggplant might be hardwired into their systems(?) All I know is more for me;-)

  8. I really, really liked this and want to make it again, but a creamier version to try with sandwiches. I also want to try Thomas Keller’s eggplant caviar recipe as well. Your eggplant has such a deep pretty color! I hope you have a good weekend, Betsy!

  9. I am sure this taste wonderful with the addition of paprika. It will be a killer to eat with any kind of bread.

  10. It’s been a fabulous month, hasn’t it? I like your pita sandwich idea – perfect for an office lunch. Also, smoked paprika sounds like it would be lovely with this recipe.

  11. Betsy, I’m glad I’m not the only one whose hubby balks at eggplant! Glad you enjoyed :)

  12. I think this is grat with paprika too :) Yours look wonderful!

  13. This has been a fun but hectic month. I am looking forward to the kids being back at school (remember that commerical with that played “It’s the most wonderful time of year…”?) so I can hopefully prepare a bit more for these. I think my ratio of onion and tomatoe to eggplant was off – but I enjoyed it enough to want to try again. Nana – not so much, but such is FF’s :) And nice idea for smoked paprika – I had honestly not heard of that before.

  14. I agree with the difficult to photograph verdict, I suspect it’s the reason Dorie didn’t include a picture of this one in her book. And while my husband was a trooper and ate the eggplant without complaint, I suspect that he will be much more excited next week when we make burgers.

  15. This is kind of a photographic nightmare, isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed it!

  16. LOL – agreed, it is not a photogenic dish, but everyone’s reviews have been positive, so I am going to give it a shot this week.

  17. Yours looks so much better than mine, which came out kind of gray. Very tasty, though!

  18. Smoked paprika is a great substitution. I may try that myself next time. And yours looks great with the red tomato bits.

  19. This is “Baingan Ka Bharta” in India. The exact same recipe (with some minor variations using Indian spices) made with smaller eggplants (called “brinjals” out here). Eaten typically with Indian bread (rotis) or even with rice :)

    • Santhi said the same thing (she’s the one I shared with). The same ingredients, but in baingan ka bharta, you would cook the onion, garlic, and tomatoes. In the eggplant caviar, those ingredients are raw. I love both dishes. I’m going to try the Indian version (cooked) soon, though I don’t think I can easily find brinjals here.

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