My family is more than a little obsessed with the eggplant spread – or melitzanosalata – at It’s Greek to Me. The creamy eggplant is perfectly balanced with lemon, garlic, fresh herbs, and salt. Nathan and I could sit down with just that, and a mountain of pillowy, hot-off-the-griddle pita bread, and stuff ourselves like fat little dolmades.
Needless to say, when I saw a pile of gorgeous eggplants at the farmers market, I greedily snagged several, with eggplant spread fully on my mind. I used this David Lebovitz eggplant caviar recipe, because 1) David Lebovitz recipes are always fantastic, and 2) I loved the idea of the seared, blackened eggplant skins imparting a subtle smokiness to the spread.
Always go for the smoke, right? Perhaps a rule to live by.
One note – definitely don’t forget to poke a few holes in the whole eggplants before setting them on the hot grill. If you don’t, you’ll learn that eggplants explode rather loudly.
When the skins are blackened, finish roasting the eggplants in the oven, until they’re falling-apart tender. Scrape the flesh into a bowl, mash with plenty of garlic & herbs, drizzle with olive oil, and smear generously on warm, grilled bread.
Commence stuffing yourself.
Recipe for Eggplant Caviar at davidlebowitz.com.
Thank goodness on the grill though, right? I just cranked it up and burned off the bits I couldn't scrape up. If it had been in the oven - yeesh. Glad I'm not the only one...
I learned the hard way about eggplant explosions last summer when trying to make an Indian dish with a grilled eggplant. It didn't just explode, it decimated itself all over the inside of my grill, and by the time I discovered the carnage, the mess had seared itself to every surface it touched. I think we ate salad that night.
A family friend from France made this dip for us and it was REALLY good :)
Amy - the explosion was pretty darn cool. And the eggplant was perfectly edible, totally worth recreating...
Tracey - you were too busy cooking for a crowd on Saturday to think about recipes! I hope it went well, I wish I'd been there. I hope the eggplants stick around for a few weeks so I can make this again - we ate it FAST.
Gah! At the farmers' market on Saturday, I was staring longingly at the eggplants but couldn't think of what I'd do with them. Now that I have this recipe, those lovely purple-y veggies are at the top of my market list! And thanks for the warning about exploding eggplant . . . !
This might even convince me to try eggplant again, if only to see what happens when it blows up on the grill!