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eggplant caviar

I’d not heard of Eggplant Caviar (caviar d’aubergine), until I moved to France. I’m not sure why that was—perhaps in the states it’s called something different when I was served it? Could it be labeling laws, so I wouldn’t confuse eggplant seeds for fish eggs? Or did I just have my head in the sand for too many years and only saw the light when I moved away?

Whenever I had eggplants lying around, I always made baba ganoush or moutabal. But eggplant caviar is even easier to make and less-rich: it’s a smoky tasting eggplant purée with a squirt of fresh lemon, some garlic, and a bit of heat from a sprinkle of bright-red chili powder.

tiny onion baked eggplant

I’m a big fan of Korean chili pepper called gochutgaru, and you can get a big bag for around €7 in most Asian markets. Since it’s used by the spoonload to make kimchi, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it in your nearest Asian grocery. I find myself reaching into that bag so much because of the way it’s adds a bit of sneaky heat, and dazzling red color, to various foods.

I find myself using it in everything, from marinating meat and chicken, to adding to scrambled eggs and pastas. I’m not turning Japanese—I’m turning Korean!

(Although I probably should concentrate on my French a bit more, first…)

baked eggplants

It’s amusing that people will write to me with things like, “David, grow that herb in your garden!” or “Build a chicken coop so you can have fresh eggs every day!” or “Set up a smoker in your backyard…and make your own bacon!” Um, I live in a city and my garden is a rectangular pot the size of a shoebox (and not the kind for boots, but the kind for sandals), that yesterday was pillaged by a gang of malevolent pigeons. I caught them the first few times, but they waited for me to go out, then did their dirty work after I split.

And my heavily sloped—and slippery, zinc roof probably isn’t the best place to set up a fire-fueled heat box. Especially since the last storm we had unearthed trees in the nearby park and I’m not sure I want to be responsible for a porky fireball (or a hailstorm of fresh chicken eggs) falling off a seven story building onto a crowd of people on the sidewalk. With my luck, they would likely bring back the guillotine. Just for me.

eggplant caviar

The great thing is that you can safely smoke the eggplants on a top of a gas stove, like I do, which gives them a wonderful goût fumé. I’m also a big fan of smoked salt, which I bring back from the states, at the risk of getting interrogated at the airport for hauling luggage smelling suspiciously of smoke and fire.

The other thing I like about this recipe is that really, all you need are a couple of eggplants. The other ingredients you should have in your pantry. (So you don’t have to pay a princely sum to make it.) In fact, perhaps this dip was christened with the name ‘caviar’ in an attempt to elevate its status. After all, this is just a simple dip. But because the eggplants get the royal treatment, it’s worthy of a lofty position in your repertoire, as it has become in mine.

Eggplant Caviar

If you don’t have a gas or outdoor grill, you can make this by just oven-roasting the eggplant for a longer period of time, until they’re completely soft and wilted. Another nice addition is to sprinkle to top with tangy sumac, which I had leftover from when I made fried beans with feta.
  • 3 small or 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for preparing the pan
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic or shallot, peeled and minced (or both)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked or sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili pepper powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, parsley, cilantro, or basil
  • Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle it with a bit of salt. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  • Poke each eggplant a few times with a sharp knife and rest them over a gas flame on the stovetop, or a grill, turning them infrequently with tongs, until they’re charred on the outside and feel soft and wilted. Depending on how smoky you want them, roast them for five to ten minutes.
  • When cool enough to handle, cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, and place them cut side down on the oiled baking sheet.
  • Bake the eggplants until the flesh is thoroughly cooked, which should take about twenty minutes, but may vary.
  • Remove the eggplants from oven and once cool enough to handle, scrape the pulp from the skins into the bowl of a food processor. (You can also scrape them into a bowl, and mash them by hand with a fork.)
  • Add the tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic or shallot (I like both), salt, and chili pepper powder.
  • Pulse the food processor a few times, until the mixture is almost smooth. Add the herbs and pulse a few more times.
  • Taste, and add additional salt, lemon, or other seasonings, as desired.
  • To serve, spoon into a bowl and make a well in the center. Pour a bit of olive oil in the middle and sprinkle with chili powder, sumac, or some chopped fresh herbs. Crisp toasts, crackers, or pita triangles are good accompaniments.


Storage: Eggplant caviar can be kept refrigerated for up to five days.

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Feta and Cucumber Salad

Cocoa Nib and Spiced Lamb Sausage Pizza

Fattoush (Kalyn’s Kitchen)

Coconut-Saffron Ice Cream

How to Find Items and Foods Mentioned on the Site



    • Shaheen {The Purple Foodie}

    I have never heard of eggplant caviar. Interesting.. but then it’s not all that different from baba ganoush.

    • Anna

    Add also some feta!

    • Julia

    I was in France recently and loved this caviar!

    • helen cho

    Hi David!

    here’s another recipe with korean red pepper flakes:

    cook spaghetti al dente in salty water. Drain most of the water. Put back on fire.
    Add heaping teaspoon or two of red pepper flakes, one chopped garlic, 1/3 of a leek finely sliced, one shallot finely sliced, a few red pepper corns, a good grind of black pepper, one sliced fresh tomato and a small dab of butter.

    cook down the liquid. This should be spicy.


    It’s a one pot wonderful lunch snack.

    • David

    helen: That sounds great. There’s also folks who dress pasta with harissa, the middle eastern hot sauce that sounds as good. Adding a bit of butter really does help the flavor, as you do, too.

    Mina: Thanks~I think eggplants are such good sponges for flavors, especially in Indian cooking with the complex and flavorful sauces.

    Anna: I think feta is good on everything!

    • Daniel

    I’ve been making something like this for months now, and never thought about throwing a shallot in there. In the Ottolenghi book- they recommend broiling the eggplant in the oven for about an hour until it gets black and burnt, turning once during the process. They won’t be soft, but the skin will be dry and papery.

    You do get a great smoky flavor depending on how long the eggplants are in there, but you do also get a lower yield because of the water loss due to the proximity of the broiler.

    Just to be clear, for those who don’t have proper broilers- I put them on a pan in the topmost rack of my electric oven near the heating element, and turn it to the switch which activates only the top heating element. 200C or so for an hour seems to do the trick.

    • stephanie

    David, I cannot tell you how happy I am every time you post a recipe. More often then not, I add ingredients to my shopping list and get cooking within a couple days. Eggplant caviar is a favorite of mine and I just happen to have two shiny eggplants in my veggie drawer.

    I made your cherries in wine syrup yesterday and am punch drunk happy with how they turned out. I had planned to serve them to guests tomorrow night over ice cream, but after numerous tastings, there is scarcely enough for two servings. Guess I will run out to buy a tart :)

    • Saudamini

    This is similar to an Indian (Bengali) preparation served over rice. The only variation is that they use mustard oil instead of olive oil which kind of adds an edge to it.
    In the northern part of India, smoked eggplants are cooked for a longer time with more spices which is served over roti (Indian flatbread) and is almost a staple. :)

    • Kalynskitchen

    This looks like it would taste amazing, great recipe! (And I have some eggplants coming in my garden, although right now they’re only about as big as a cherry tomato!)

    • Cyndy

    Oh, boy. Thanks to you, David, and everyone who has responded with variations. I was casting about for a heart-healthy appetizer to serve a couple of new friends, one of whom has a heart problem. Now I’ve got the answer (and the sumac, left over from making Fatoosh).

    David, which park lost trees in the last storm? We used to live close to your area, on Richard Lenoir overlooking the park in the center, across from the Lenoir metro stop. Was it that one? I loved looking down at that park and marking the change of seasons with its trees.

    • Jen M

    I’ve always been afraid of eggplant… I’m not sure why. But this looks great – I may have to try it soon.

    • Lardon My French

    This sounds delicious. I only recently started getting into eggplants. The texture used to always bother me, but now I’m finding new ways to use eggplants and it’s amazing! I love them! Roasting them is my new fav. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • hillaryn

    David I am really surprised you haven’t heard of this before. The recipe I’ve used for this for a few years is from Alice Waters, so I assumed she serves it at her restaurant…maybe not when you were there? Always good to find a new snacky thing to serve with an aperitif…non? At this time of year I love things that I can make in a batch, keep in the frig and pair up with something easy like a salad and cheese and that’s a meal.

    • David

    hillaryn: I know. I saw that recipe in one of the Chez Panisse cookbooks. I think because I was in the back busily baking away, where we subsisted on coffee, I don’t think I got any saw or tasted eggplant caviar.

    • margie

    I’ve always been thrown off by the name of this dish – I can’t get past the mental image of eggplant + caviar, so I usually call it eggplant purée.

    I just made baigan bharta last night as part of my fridge-busting before a trip, so I’m in an eggplant frame of mind. I love, love, love eggplant, but my husband has issues with its texture, so I’m always trying to find new ways to make it that don’t leave me with a huge pile of leftovers – Indian food is my normal standby. I also adore eggplant sautéed with loads of garlic, olive oil, and some vinegar, mashed up and smeared onto pita.

    • michaela

    I know I leave this comment all the time, but you really are hysterical. And you make good ice cream, too.

    • Vicki B

    “adds a bit of sneaky heat, and dazzling red color, to various foods.” Brilliant!

    • Stephanie W.

    David, this looks amazing. We have a place here in San Diego that makes baba ghanouj “on the sajj” oven… has that smoky char taste that is incredible. I might just try this though… you’ve made it so easy and appealing. Thanks for the inspiration.


    • Alice from Someone Who Bakes

    No, you’re not that far gone, I haven’t heard of eggplant caviar before either. But then again, that’s not really saying much….But now that first photo has me fiercely craving some eggplant dip in some form. At 9:54 am. That may have to do with the fact that I missed my mid-morning snack. *sigh*

    • Arundathi

    The first time I tasted this was in Paris too – and I fell in love with it. I tried recreating it at home in India and when I served it as an appetizer dip at dinner, everyone announced that it tasted exactly like Bhaingan Bhurta, an Indian dish of roasted eggplants, mashed with spices! It really does. Small world.

    • Arundathi

    Just read the rest of the comments and noticed that someone already mentioned Bhaingan Bhurta! :)
    Note to self: read comments before commenting!

    • Asha@FSK

    But, why is it called “caviar”?? I thought the term meant fish roe, or atleast something that looked like roe

    • Justin Orde

    I may try this recipe instead of Baba Ganoush for a mezze menu. Awesomewelles.

    • David

    Asha: I don’t know. Perhaps it’s the seeds. Anyone else know?

    Arundathi: That’s okay. That means you both like it!

    michaela: As long as you’re laughing with me, not at me. That’s fine : )

    (Because I get enough of the latter around here..)

    • Nicole

    My ex introduced me to the Jewish version of this…Roast the eggplants, mix up with oil and salt (I forced him to use olive oil, on Long Island it was wesson or something) and spread on fresh rye bread. Part of the joy was the smushing with a fork, so no food processor either.
    Yours looks delicious.

    • Cyndy

    Asha@FSK, the term “eggplant caviar” is a joke or a metaphor, sort of. We have a way in the US of making a substitution of ingredients, or making something that looks similar to something too expensive to buy, and calling the substitution by the same name. Fish roe is expensive; eggplant not. That’s not very clear, I know. I’m trying to think of another example. “City chicken” might be an example–it has no chicken in it at all, although its ingredients are more expensive than chicken. Monkfish is Poor Man’s Lobster (also not a very good example).

    Can anyone else think of one? I know they’re out there. I’m just drawing a blank.

    • hkw

    Eggplant caviar is ubiquitous in Russia, which also has lots of other kinds of veggie caviars, including mushroom and beet. I guess a love of caviar+low budgets+plentiful summer veggies=a sturgeon-free substitute. Eggplant caviar often also has tomatoes in it and looks like the pictures meesha.v posted.

    • David

    hkw, meesha & cyndy: I’d imagine eggplant ‘caviar’ was named that somewhere in the Middle East or perhaps Russia. Since it’s a widely-used term in Europe (and even though Europeans have adopted a few modern Americanisms in their food), this seems like a recipe title that has been in use for a while.

    I’ve not seen it made with tomatoes here in France, though. But interesting that it’s made with them in the Ukraine. Perhaps sometime I will give that version a try!

    • Marie M.C.

    Eggplant caviar is one of my all time favorite dishes. I always assumed it was a Russian dish. No idea why it’s called eggplant caviar. My mother (who was born in Russia) made a very different version. She used roasted eggplant then after cooling chopped it up and cooked with tomato, onions, green pepper and slices of carrot in peel form. All the onions etc. were well cooked. Sadly I’ve never been able to duplicate the exact taste of her recipe. *Sigh.*

    • zaphia

    What a coincidence, I saw this online just yesterday!

    You may not want to post this on your blog but its worth looking thru’. It’s a great way to make it if you want to bake it in the oven.


    • Anonymous

    I love eggplant.
    I make a Caponata with them.
    You can bet I will try this.
    Sounds delish..
    thanks yvonne

    • Jan

    I’m pretty sure I found smoked salt at the market nearest the Bastille last time I was in Paris; not too far from you, I guess. Also for a bit of different smoky flavor, I am pretty hooked on Pimenton de la Vera, from the Extremadura region of Spain. It’s all good; the appreciation of that smoky flavor must be in our genes since caveman days:)

    • Melissa M

    HI David, do you have a nice bright window in your flat? If so, perhaps you could do something like this–not great for decorating but you can have your basil!

    • Hannah

    I love the idea of adding smoked salt to this! I’ve only just started to appreciate eggplant, and I think this will be another “yummy yet safe” recipe for me. I’m still wary of the spongy texture of it when it isn’t pureed…

    • Janet

    I’ve been making egglant caviar for years and always have included peeled, seeded tomatoes. Check out Lydie Marshall’s cookbook “Chez Nous” for her recipe. Also Richard Olney’s cookbook, Lulus’ Provencal Table has a recipe for Egglant-Tomato Spread called “Bohemienne” that is delicious that also includes anchovies.

    I haven’t yet met an eggplant dish not to love. And don’t get me going on the Turkish recipes – they are the real masters of eggplant cuisine! I love how they peel their eggplants in a striped fashion to make them look attractive. They have hundreds of ways to prepare them that has evolved from the royal kitchens in Instanbul.

    • ClaireS

    Definitely going to try this recipe for I love both dipping and eggplants but find baba ganoush a little too strident. Item number 2 in the recipe is very important. I once had a baking eggplant explode in my face. It became a wonderful opportunity to see how long I could hold my face under the surface of iced water.

    • hip pressure cooking

    I first had eggplant caviar in the 90’s at Wolfgang Puck’s California Pizza Kitchen as an appetizer. They served it as a dipping sauce with a swirl of live oil and a roasted clove or garlic in he middle to be dipped with wedges of warm flat-bread.

    Oooh, so goood!

    I make my eggplant with the skin on (well blended, of course) and oven roasted (gives me time to roast a little garlic, too– seems to have more flavor that way.


    • b bar

    The best eggplant caviar; Strange-Flavor Eggplant from Barbara Tropp’s cookbook “China Moon”. Garlic, ginger, scallions, chilis, soy sauce, brown sugar and rice vinegar. So good.

    • Anna

    Many Eastern Europeans eat “eggplant salad” as grilled – drained – finely chopped eggplant mixed with oil (mayo style emulsion), adding finely diced onion and garlic, salt and pepper and decorated with slices of tomato and green pepper.
    Eggplants are chopped with a wooden cleaver, to avoid oxidation. The salad is eaten on bread as an open sandwich.

    • fragolina

    It’s a very delicious dish, we, as mediterraneans, add also to that dish some cubed tomatoes. I, personally, prefer the one with tahini paste, Baba Ghanoush, it’s the best. Tahini paste has a strong rich flavor, we also use it as a dessert, mixed with carob molasses and eaten with morsel of pita bread.

    • 5am Foodie

    I make a variation of this, but instead of smoky salt and chili pepper, I use hot smoked paprika and ordinary salt. Just variations on a theme, I guess, but delicious nevertheless! We like it with flatbread crisps or sticks of jicama (if you can get it). Or on a nice piece of toasted sourdough. Of course most things taste great on a piece of toasted sourdough…

    • Kelly-jane

    I know this as ‘poor man’s caviar’, not tried it, but have always thought it looks good.

    I’m sure the poor pigeons meant you no harm!

    • michaela

    i’m laughing with you, but maybe laughing at the thought of crowd of parisians on the sidewalk dodging a “porky fireball”.

    • heather @ chiknpastry

    this actually makes me look forward to eggplants, which is generally my least favorite item in my CSA box!

    • Dan

    Perhaps it’s regional, we always called it eggplant caviar in NYC restaurants, at least back as far as I was working in them in the early 80s.

    • Dave at Wineopeners

    Coincidentally this month’s Yoga Journal has a recipe for eggplant caviar (p. 70) and the editors note it’s the recipe from Alice Waters.
    Thanks for spawning more ideas on using eggplant.

    • Mari

    I’ve seen recipes like this for years in vegetarian and Jewish cookbooks. It’s usually called poor man’s caviar! Love your blog and recipes. It’s one of the first things I look for in the in box. Your writing is wonderful, and the pictures are beautiful. Thanks so much for the best food blog ever.

    • Soma

    We do this exact same thing in India. I belong to the eastern state of West Bengal, and we combine the fire roasted eggplant pulp with pure mustard oil, hot green peppers, onions and fresh coriander. It is usually consumed as a side with rice or flatbreads.

    • Dianne Jacob

    Aha, now I know how you get the smokiness.

    I made baba ganoush last week for my book group and just roasted the eggplant in the oven. It was only faintly smoky. Next time I will char it on the gas burner first and add smoked salt.

    It’s a pleasure to get these kinds of tips from you that turn “fine” into “spectacular.”

    • Jackie Liang

    Dearn David,
    Oh, always so enjoyable reading your post. I look forward to it whenever I open my email.

    I think the “Japanese eggplant” – one of my favorite veges, produces much better results than the usual “Italian” kind. You thoughts on this?

    Thank you.

    • David

    Jackie: I love Japanese eggplants and find them tastier, but they’re hard to find in Paris unless you go to an Asian market.

    Kelly-jane; I don’t know. They were pretty vicious with my lemon-thyme plant.
    The bast%$rds!

    • Teresa

    This is one of my favorites! I’d never had it either (or much eggplant at all, to be truthful) until I lived in Provence. The chef I worked with loved to show American clients that they really did not hate eggplant, as quite of few of them would state at the beginning of a cooking week.
    You are too funny… a public guillotining of an American over a food crime. Can’t you just see the headlines now??

    • Alina Cristescu

    Hi David, I am from Romania and the eggplant caviar is a traditional dish.
    I can not imagine the summer without it and I have learn from my grandmother that you never have to touch the eggplant whith metals, always use wood … And a pinch of pepper, that is a tip from an hungarian friend!

    • Akila

    This looks delicious. We make our baba ghannoush like this too — by smoking the eggplants on a gas burner or our gas grill.

    • kathleen

    Mmm…I just made and ate this, with a swirl of tahini and lemon juice and toasted whole wheat naan. It was a delightful snack after coming off an eight hour shift and marks the first time I’ve been brave enough to roast a vegetable over the gas flame (after living in a house with a gas stove since January!)

    I know you’re mainly a dessert man (and I can attest that your dulce de leche brownies, whether made with wheat flour or gluten-free substitutes, make all-day bus trips and parents’ friends’ dull barbecues worthwhile) but I would love it if you experimented more with North African cooking. I’ve made the apricot tagine from The Sweet Life in Paris at least six times at my father’s request (including with lamb, for Easter) and it’s always a hit, even with people who haven’t tried cuisine maghrebine before. I make quinoa to go alongside as my father eats gluten-free – I don’t know if anyone in Marrakech would do that, but it’s really tasty!

    • Siobhan

    David, would smoked chipotle pepper (ground) be a good substitute for your Korean pepper, by chance?

    • kayce.

    so funny that you posted this b/c it’s now one of my favorite things, but a couple years ago, i’d not heard of it myself… when i started working at the ritz, my paris-born-and-raised chef taught me a few of the recipes that were his “simple favorites.” eggplant caviar, his hummus, and his mom’s recipe for muesli are things i make regularly in my home kitchen. (in fact, i was at the store the other day and bought some lovely eggplants just so i can make some “caviar.”)

    anyway, the version we make at the ritz is oven-roasted and we add small-dice of tricolor peppers and use only cilantro. the other thing is that we just rough-chop the eggplant ~ just enough to make flatbread-able (that’s totally a word) chunks. i will, however, try adding smoked salt because i think it will make up for not grilling the eggplant.

    thanks for the ideas (as always) david!

    • Chef Dennis

    Hi David

    that sounds like a wonderful way to get more eggplant into our diets, especially when its roasted rather than fried…I will definitely put this on for my girls this year, they love hummus and this would be another healthy option for them!
    They love spicy too so I will look for those peppers!

    thanks so much!

    • Brooke Fehr

    Thank you for the wonderful post and recipe. Between the porky fireball and your suspicious, smoky luggage, I am literally laughing out loud.

    • Caroline

    Hi David

    Next time you’re over in London, suggest getting Maldon Smoked Sea Salt – it’s naturally cold smoked over hardwood. Format is large flaky crystals. It’s excellent.

    Halen Mon is a Welsh brand of sea salt – they do a great Vanilla Sea salt (smaller grains) which I sprinkle on chocolate tarts. They also do other flavoured salts.

    You can buy both in most food halls or Waitrose.


    • calli

    I don’t know about caviar; but in Greece it’s called a salad. My grandmother either grilled or baked large purple eggplant whole until they collapsed into themselves. And always minced by hand with a knife to get something slightly chunky, not smooth. Oil, salt, and lemon. No garlic, no onion. Pure eggplant goodness.

    • Juthica Stangl

    I see several Indians (specially from Bengal ) already beat me to it . I grew up thinking “Baigun Bharta ” mushed eggplant was poor man’s staple . It was made the same way as the eggplant caviar . My mother learned it from our maid . We all loved it. She made it with mustard oil, fresh green chili , chopped raw red onion , lemon juice
    and cilantro . It was delicious with steamed rice and dahl. By the way I grew up in Calcutta , I still make it as a dip and my family in India laugh at the thought that I serve “this ” to company ?

    • Pia

    I have an older cookbook from the vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant which contains a recipe for eggplant caviar.

    • Cyndy

    Kayce, when you add tri-colored diced peppers, are they roasted and peeled first? Or do you just add tiny diced raw?

    Sounds lovely.

    • Lisa

    This looks delicious and I love, love, LOVE eggplant!!!!

    • Natalia

    Thank you for this recipe! I finally made this last night and my hubby and I absolutely loved it! This will definitely be a staple for us! Thanks again for your passion and dedication.

    • Kristy

    Hi David,

    I made this the other day but used thyme oil instead and added all the eggplant goo to pasta. yum, yum, yum.

    Thank you!

    • Joan

    Thanks David. I was ready to make baba ganoush with my two eggplants and wondering how I could boost the smokiness. Now I’ll try your caviar instead. Your char-and-roast method combined with fact that this is a lighter dish should send the smoky index right up there.
    With a little hummus, this will be a perfect lunch on a hot August day.

    • AngAK

    My Mom also grew up in the Ukraine and we had this eggplant caviar quite regularly, ours also made with some roasted tomato and onion and served with rye bread. I’m thinking the Eastern European origin of this dish might have something to do with the name “caviar”. maybe.

    • Becky

    My Russian (Jewish) grandmother always made eggplant caviar when I was a child, my Romanian (Jewish) grandfather adored it. I would love standing by my grandmother’s side and watch her patiently turn the eggplant with a big wooden stick over the open flame of the gas stove top. She blackened the eggplant while somehow not getting the kitchen all smokey, yet I am incapable of reproducing that today. I have to take the batteries of out my smoke detector if I try her way. So, I tend to blacken eggplant these days under the broiler and turn, turn, turn them. That works a bit better for me.

    So, tonight I am inspired to prepare eggplant caviar thanks to you, David.

    You have created one of the best and most inspiring blogs out there. And I thank you.

    • Neha

    Re: the pigeons…hanging cds in the window scares them family has the same issue in India and the cds work like magic!

    • Anthony Zausmer

    David, could this be one of those cases where even in the USA the dish is called (as in the UK) “Aubergine Caviar”? Out of interest, sad schmuck that I am, I googled both names and came up with 26,900 for US-english and 35,900 for English-english!

    I have a food blog on Facebook and my American relatives are often bemused by my terminology there!

    • DebbieN

    This looks too elegant! To whoever commented on the sponginess factor for undercooked eggplant, if you’re not going to grill the eggplants and you want them cooked through, better to microwave them for 10 minutes than bake them for an hour and still have raw spots. I know it doesn’t sound gourmet but it works really well. Ten minutes should be enough to collapse two large eggplants with the stems cut off. You can also squeeze them out as you would a pastry bag (politest comparison) instead of scooping if you’ve got the nerve. It’s a lot quicker and usually neater once you get the knack. I finally posted pictures of how to do it on my blog but I admit it’s not for the faint of heart. Or peel them before you nuke–not exactly the same but it works too.

    • Lise La Plant


    This was a big hit today as a starter to a long, lazy lunch in Quinsac (just outside of Bordeaux). And who would have thought that I could find smoked salt – from Denmark – so easily at Auchan.

    Many thanks for this and your blog in general. I was “forced” to leave Paris 18 months ago – your blog allows me to roam the streets and markets with you.


    • Lisa Kisch

    I just made this…just on the gas burner, no oven, and it is so delicious I’m just eating it with a spoon! Yum.

    • Sandra

    Hmm…This looked so appetizing that I immediately went to work on it! But I wonder if the eggplant I have here (Central Asia) is different than what you and all your commenters have…I made this tonight and it was so unbearably bitter that (sigh) I had to throw the whole thing away. Any advice? Most recipes I’ve used up to now are better if I slice the eggplant first, soak it in salted water, and squeeze out the brownness. But I don’t think I can do that with this recipe?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      One way to reduce bitterness in eggplants it to salt them before cooking; cut them into cubes, sprinkle them with salt (fairly well) then let them sit in a strainer to let the water run out, which will take at least 30 minutes. Also some eggplants varieties are more bitter than others. (Many smaller ones tend to be not bitter.) So ask your vendor to guide you, if you can, when you select one.


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