Every time I see a good eggplant, I can not resist getting it. I saw some nice looking small Italian eggplants at the grocery store and bought two. Since I occasionally forget what I bought and find the liquefied remnants later in the fridge, my wife kept the eggplants out on the counter for me to cook that evening (translation: immediately!). After I considered making my usual suspects, I realized I have not blogged this dish and decided to make it. I first saw this in one of the Silver palate cookbooks many years ago and made it several times since then but not recently. My recipe is loosely based on the recipe from the book. This time I did not check the original recipe and made it from memory. As usual, I made some of my own contributions (read modifications) to the dish. Why is this called “caviar”? I am not sure. But the seeds of eggplants may look like “caviar” with some, no, lots of imagination. Japanese have “tonburi” とんぶり, a type of grass seeds prepared a specific way, which is sometimes called a “land” caviar and is more similar in appearance and texture (not taste) to real caviar than this dish.
The amount is an appetizer for two.
I finely diced one small shallot, zest (using a micrograter) and juice of half a lemon, a few sprigs of chopped parsley (or other fresh herbs such as fresh basil if available). I mixed this into the eggplant above and season it with salt, pepper and a good olive oil (2-3 tbs). I tasted it and I thought that pine nuts would go well with this dish. So I dry roasted pine nuts (2 tbs) in a dry frying pan and mixed in (optional).
P.S. In view of the catastrophic tragedy in Tohoku-Sendai area, we offer our sympathy and support for the survivors. All my family and the friends we contacted are Ok but our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were not as fortunate. We were in the Sendai, Matsushima and Kinkazan areas in 2006, which makes watching these images and videos much more difficult.