Eggplant Caviar

This is a Russian dish, and while the recipe comes from an American cookbook, the taste is authentic enough for my Russian husband. It has nothing in common with fish eggs except for the fact that Russians eat it on bread, often over a layer of butter, just as they would eat caviar. My kids also like it with tortilla chips.

Adapted from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin.

Ingredients

Up to 1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 (16-ounce) can tomatoes, chopped and drained, or 3 to 4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound) or equivalent amount of smaller eggplants, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sauté 5 minutes more, stirring often.
  2. Lower the heat a bit and stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover the pan and cook about 20 minutes or until the eggplant is very tender. Stir periodically. Remove the pan and continue cooking until all the juices have evaporated, another 5 minutes or so.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and pour it into a food processor. Puree and adjust seasoning as desired.

NOTE: The original recipe calls for pureeing only half the mixture and then combining the pureed and unpureed portions for a chunkier effect. If you want to do it that way, be sure the vegetables are finely diced.

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