Eggplant Caviar

Makes 6 first course servings.

This is a Georgian (Russian) dish where eggplants are plentiful and seedless. There it is called “the poor man’s caviar.” l like to serve this piquant dish surrounded by sliced English or Persian cucumbers and crackers.

Like most simple recipes with very few ingredients, the quality of the eggplant becomes paramount. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions how to pick a good eggplant (try to find one with few seeds).


  • 1 medium to large eggplant (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons double-concentrate tomato paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a pan with foil.
  3. Place the eggplant in pan and bake for about 35 minutes, turning once, until the eggplant is soft to the touch.
  4. While the eggplant is baking, heat the oil in a skillet.  Add the onion and sauté, over low heat until soft and transparent. About 10 minutes.
  5. When the eggplant is  cool enough to handle, discard the stem, cut in half, scrape off some of the seeds if there any, and pour off any accumulated juice. Scrape the flesh into a food processor, fitted with the steel blade. Add the onion, and the tomato paste and pulse until almost smooth. 
  6. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  7. Serve at room temperature.