Eggplant Caviar (Baklazhannaya Ikra)
Also known as “poor man’s caviar,” this Russian spread is so called for the eggplant seeds that make the hors d’oeuvre resemble actual caviar. The secret to this dish all comes down to how the eggplant is cooked.
Why This Recipe Works
After much experimenting with our eggplant caviar recipe, we concluded that halving the eggplant lengthwise, scoring the cut side of the flesh, and roasting it cut side down on a baking sheet not only allowed the eggplant to caramelize lightly, which contributed to flavor, but also let the eggplant quickly release some of its moisture, thereby concentrating its subtle taste. Our research indicated that tomatoes are required for an eggplant caviar recipe—we determined that tomato paste was best because, unlike canned and fresh tomatoes, it didn’t impact the smoothness of the spread or thin out its consistency.