Eggplant Caviar — Around My French Table {AMFT}

Like most serious home cooks, I know the name Dorie Greenspan. But until recently, I didn’t own any of her books. That changed a week or two ago, when I ordered a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours. A number of my online baking friends are members of Tuesdays With Dorie, a group that bakes a different recipe from Baking every week. It was too late to join the group, as membership is closed, but I’ve heard so many great things about the book, I wanted to get it.

About the time the book arrived, I learned that Dorie had a new book coming out, Around My French Table. I also found out that there was a new group forming, French Fridays With Dorie. I thought it might be fun to join this new group, but I wanted to try a few recipes from the book before I committed myself.

Although the release date is October 8, Amazon already had it in stock; so I ordered it and two days later, it was at my door. I opened the book, and the first recipe I saw was Eggplant Caviar (p. 23). Since I had just picked up some beautiful eggplant at the farmer’s market, this recipe seemed like as good a place as any to start.

I picked up another (less beautiful) eggplant and the herbs at the store, and set to work. This is really a simple recipe (which, in case you’re wondering, has no caviar in it). The first step is to roast the eggplant.

In a sidebar, Dorie suggests slitting the eggplant and stuffing it with slivered garlic. I followed her suggestion, and the roasted garlic gave the eggplant great depth of flavor. I baked the eggplant for 45 minutes, until they were soft and wrinkly.

Once the eggplant had cooled, I halved each one and scooped out the meat. I think I should have baked the eggplant another 15 minutes or so, as some of it didn’t scoop out cleanly. I was able to get most of the meat into the bowl, where I mixed it with garlic and olive oil. (As a side note, if you stuff the eggplant with garlic, you might want to cut back a bit on the raw garlic.)  The recipe says to mash everything together with a fork, but I found it easier to squish it up with my hand.

After the eggplant was sufficiently broken down, I added the remaining ingredients — lemon zest and juice, onion, basil, thyme, cilantro, cayenne, salt, and pepper.

The recipe doesn’t specify how much salt to add; I found that it needed quite a bit, about 2-3 teaspoons. I used black truffle salt, which gave the dish amazing flavor. I also added healthy amounts of black pepper and cayenne.

So, how did my first Dorie Greenspan recipe come out? Well, let’s just say I’m glad I bought two of her books. I’m going to bake the brioche recipe from French Table next, then maybe I’ll have a go at something from Baking.

Oh, and I already signed up for French Fridays.

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20 Comments

  1. August 19, 2011 at 7:41 am

    […] post that I wrote about getting Dorie’s book and this recipe in September, 2010, by clicking here. Rather than blogging about the recipe again, I’m excerpting part of the original post […]

  2. September 20, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    […] first recipe I tried, Eggplant Caviar, was a hit and had me ready to try more. For my second recipe, I decided to make something I […]

  3. Joel said,

    September 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    YAY! great post and so excited you decided to join us!

    Viva La FFwD!

    -joel

    • gaaarp said,

      September 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks, Joel. I’m really excited about this group! I have one more pre-group post to put up (brioche), then I’ll contain myself until October.

      Thanks for your work on the FFwD group!

  4. Anne Marie said,

    September 5, 2010 at 6:37 am

    I had already looked at the book. I have looked at the price of my kids’ books for college… Maybe I’ll see you in October

    • gaaarp said,

      September 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm

      Hmm. $350 for a textbook that’s going to end up with beer spilled on it, or $26 for a cookbook that will last a lifetime. Seems like an easy choice to me.

      • Anne Marie said,

        September 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm

        So, I ordered it, can’t stop reading it. and signed up. Although, Fridays to me mean Mexican food and margaritas. I will have to adjust my attitude.

      • gaaarp said,

        September 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm

        I think if it’s like the TWD group, you just have to post on Fridays. You can cook any day that works for you.

  5. Kayte said,

    September 4, 2010 at 7:57 am

    You keep us all on our toes about getting to recipes, that’s for sure. I always think, “I have to get to this, PHYL is up already and probably baking/cooking, I’m behind!!!” Your Eggplant Caviar looks great…and what fun to get a comment from Dorie right away. Isn’t that great when an author will take the time to show appreciation like that…very nice of her always to do these things.

    • gaaarp said,

      September 4, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks. My wife would be impressed to hear that I keep up with something!

      I started Dorie’s brioche dough today. It has to chill in the fridge overnight. It’s very slack — much more than Peter Reinhart’s brioche doughs. Oddly, I’m making Nick’s brioche, too, and it’s also really slack.

  6. dorie said,

    September 3, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    I’m thrilled that you’ve jumped into the book so quickly — thank you — and delighted that you liked the eggplant caviar. I bet it was great with that truffle salt. Actually, what wouldn’t be great with truffle salt?

    • gaaarp said,

      September 3, 2010 at 11:35 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Dorie! I love this book and am so looking foward to making more recipes from it.

      I agree about the truffle salt. I’m going to use it the next time I make cultured butter. The two of them together could be dangerous.

  7. Nancy/n.o.e said,

    September 3, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Good job jumping right in with the new book! I love Dorie’s recipes because, in addition to being amazingly tasty they are so clear to follow. My plan is to participate in the new group, but we’ll see how that actually plays out.

    • gaaarp said,

      September 3, 2010 at 11:36 pm

      You’re right, Nancy. The recipes are so easy to follow. That’s why I’m excited about learning French cooking from her.

  8. Di said,

    September 3, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Yay!! Okay, you win. =) I’ve barely had a chance to crack the book. Maybe this weekend. I’m not a big fan of eggplant, but I’m glad you were happy with the recipe.

    • gaaarp said,

      September 3, 2010 at 10:13 pm

      Other than making baba ganouj, I think I’ve only ever cooked with eggplant once or twice in my life. But I found a beautiful eggplant at the farmer’s market, and I had to find something to do with it, so this recipe was perfect.

  9. Natashya said,

    September 3, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Delicious! I love eggplant and garlic.
    I am so happy you are cooking through this book.
    I did about half the TWD but had to leave it when my husband was diagnosed as diabetic. He has leveled out a lot since then and I can bake a little sweet here and there but am totally psyched that she has a full spectrum French cookbook out! I put my order in today, I should get it around the 14th. Looking forward to cooking with you! ☺

    • gaaarp said,

      September 3, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      Maybe you’ll luck out like I did and get it in a few days. Mine arrived before it was even supposed to ship.

      I love French food, and I’ve always wanted to learn to cook it. So I’m really excited about this book and the new challenge!

  10. Margaret said,

    September 3, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Man, you are quick. I definitely see this as a challenge to the rest of us to gett cooking really soon.

    Welcome to the world of Dorie. Love her BFMHTY and TWD. Glad to know you will be with us in FFWD.

    • gaaarp said,

      September 3, 2010 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks, I think I’m going to love these books!


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