In my kitchen, lots of eggplant means poor man's caviar, named for the tiny dots in the vegetable. I roast the eggplant in the oven or set them on the grill after the other food has come off, so they can cook over the waning coals (you just have to remember to fetch them off the rack before you close the kitchen.
Poor man's caviar
2 large eggplant, pierced several times
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 onion, coarsely chopped
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1. Set the oven at 400 degrees or light a grill to medium. Rub the eggplant very lightly with oil. Set them in a baking dish or on the grill rack. Roast for 45 minutes, turning several times, until the eggplant are beginning to collapse and they are tender when you insert a skewer into the thickest end.
2. Let the eggplant sit until they are cool enough to handle. Halve them and use a spoon to scoop the flesh onto a cutting board. Chop it coarsely. Transfer to a food processor. Add a generous sprinkle of oil, salt, and pepper. Work until coarsely chopped.
3. Add the onion, tomato, and parsley. Continue pulsing the eggplant until the mixture forms a chunky puree. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour for the flavors to mellow. Serve with crackers or pita toasts. Sheryl Julian
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.