With our Pierrefeu du Var friends coming for lunch tomorrow, I stopped by the farmer’s market for peaches, tomatoes, basil, apricots and other fresh deliciousness. I’m making chicken salad, and thought that eggplant caviar would be a great accompaniment. Besides the plump purple eggplants murmered “buy me buy me”, who was I to resist?
The recipe is simplicity personified:
Heat oven to 375. Can make ahead– even better the next day.
Take 3 washed eggplants and cut slits into them. Peel and cut 3 or 4 garlic cloves the long way into slivers, and stuff the slivers into the eggplants.
Put the eggplants directly on the oven rack, and bake until they slump, about 40 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetables. (If you are grilling anyway, you can put them on the grill)
Remove from oven and let cool until they can be handled, then cut off the tops and scrape the inside part into a bowl. Discard skin.
Chop well or put in food processor. Add about a Tbsp. of olive oil, a tsp. of dijon mustard, the juice of half a lemon, some chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate overnight if you can.
Before serving, slice a baguette into 1/2 inch slices and brush with olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and toast until crisp, turning half-way through to crisp them on both sides.
For the Baby Artichokes:
Simply clean and split artichokes vertically.
Arrange in a baking dish, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt, pepper, and a couple of garlic cloves.
Cut up 2-3 lemons, squeeze over.
Cover and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Test by pulling off a leaf and biting it. Look for tenderness at the light colored bottom of the leaf.
Shake pan, turn artichoke halves a bit, and cook uncovered 10 minutes more, until liquid is syrupy and artichokes look delicious.