I couldn’t resist the pile of glorious purple eggplants at the grocery yesterday, even though my husband won’t go near one, as far as eating goes. I didn’t want to make a huge dinner dish just for myself, so I’m making the caviar, which works as a side dish with meat or a snack as a dip for veggies or a spread on crackers or bread. I’m making the recipe from the Nom Nom Paleo iPad app, with the only changes being my use of bacon fat for roasting the garlic bulb and skipping the red pepper flakes. I am hoping that smoky bacon fat will add an interesting flavor to the dish. No, I’m not on a paleo diet, but I like to take from this and that way of eating. I’m most aware of following the low-glycemic index, but I can’t permanently restrict my eating to any one promoted diet. I do like many things about the paleo diet in terms of low sugars, but I picked this recipe for taste. Sweet, smoky, garlicky, and a little chunky. Mmmm.
Preheat oven to 400°
1 large eggplant
1 garlic bulb, top cut off to expose cloves (you don’t have to use it all in this dish if you like less garlic)
1 teaspoon bacon fat or Ghee or fat of choice
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Optional: ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Prepare garlic and eggplant:
- Pierce the eggplant all over with a large meat fork or sharp knife and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
- Cut off the top of a garlic bulb, place on a square of foil, and top with the teaspoon of fat. Bring up the edges of the foil to make a tightly-sealed pouch. Place the pouch on the baking sheet with the eggplant.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, until the eggplant is wrinkly and slightly collapsed. Set aside to cool a bit.
Prepare the caviar:
- Cut open the eggplant and either peel off the skin or scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.
- Using a potato masher or two forks or even a food processor, mash the eggplant to desired smoothness.
- Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves onto a small plate, removing any papery skins, then transfer to the bowl of mashed eggplant.
- Stir in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, the chopped parsley leaves, and salt and pepper. Add pepper flakes, if using.
- Refrigerate to let the flavors come together, then think of delicious ways to serve it.