Thomas Keller's Eggplant Caviar
- 1 large eggplant about 1¼ pounds
- kosher salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil plus extra for roasting
- ¼ tsp very finely minced garlic almost a paste
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- Cut the eggplant lengthwise in half.
- Score both halves on the flesh side, making a crisscross pattern and ¼ inch deep.
- Sprinkle both halves with salt and place them scored side down on a baking sheet.
- Cover with another baking sheet and place a heavy object (such as a set of bowls) on top. Let the eggplant render its excess liquid at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Rinse the eggplant, pat dry, and rub with some olive oil.
- Place the halves flesh side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast for about an hour, or until the eggplant is very soft and the skin is wrinkled; there should be no resistance when tested with a knife. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.
- Scoop out the eggplant pulp and lightly chop it.
- Place the pulp in a double layer of cheesecloth and tie it securely into a bundle with butcher's twine. Place the bundle in a colander set over a bowl and refrigerate. Let drain 2 hours, or overnight.
- Remove the eggplant from the refrigerator and hold the bundle over the sink. Twist and squeeze the cheesecloth to remove as much additional liquid as possible.
- Place the pulp (you should have about ½ cup) in a small food processor or mini-chop. Pulse a few times to begin breaking up the eggplant.
- With the motor running, slowly pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil through the feed tube. Continue blending for 30 seconds. The color and texture will begin to lighten.
- Stop the machine and add the garlic, mustard, and salt to taste.
- Blend again, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Continue processing for another minute, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve, or for up to 1 week.
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