Friday, 6 April 2012

Aubergine Caviar and Courgette Caviar

Traditionally, Good Friday is a meat-free day, aka 'Fish Friday'. And what better way to bring this to life here than with a bit of fish free 'caviar'?

For those who don't know, I'm particularly interested in all things Russian, though I'm not sure that my interest extends to the food. Whilst the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia have yielded some pretty delicious dishes, I'm afraid that traditional Russian cuisine dosn't speak to me quite so much. Perhaps this is because (aside from soups and pickles, which are in a league of their own) traditional Russian cooking only has a limited lot to offer to vegetarians, let alone vegans.

However, there are the odd couple of things that are worth mentioning, and they come into their own when the weather turns warmer, and we start craving simpler, lighter food. These two 'caviar' recipes are inspired by Sofka Skipwith's 'Eat Russian', a charming little food and cookbook from the Soviet era. They are partcularly good served with a nice wholesome bread (here served with Marathon Bread from Barbakan), and a simple salad of tomato and cucumber or gherkin.

Aubergine Caviar and Courgette Caviar
Serves 6-8

2 aubergines
3 courgettes
2 onions
2 tomatoes
3 tblsp sunflower oil
3 tblsp cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Cut the courgettes and aubergines in half lenthways and arrange, cut-side down, on baking trays with about a centimetre of hot water on the tray. Pop in the oven for about 15-20 mins at 180 degrees celcius to steam gently.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the vegetables. Firstly, you will need to skin the tomatoes. To do so, score a small cross in the top of each tomato, then submerge completely in boiled water. Leave for about 10 minutes, after which time, you can remove the tomatoes and the skin should peel off easily.Then finely chop the skinned tomatoes.

3. Whilst the tomatoes are sitting in the boiling water, very finely chop the onion.

4. When the aubergines and courgettes are steamed, remove them from the oven and allow to sit until cool enough to handle. Finely chop the flesh (keeping the courgette and the aubergine separate).

5. Set up two frying pans, and divide the oil, vinegar, onion and tomato equally between them. Add the aubergine to one pan and the courgette to the other. Gently simmeron a low heat to evaporate off any exess liquid. Allow to cool and refrigerate - serve very cold as part of a buffet dinner with bread and salad.


  1. two distinctly different veggie delicacies. great for a gourmet lunch and great finished off with some rustic bread. lovely grub

  2. Thank you, I agree! The best thing is that they give you the perfect excuse to enjoy a proper artisan loaf that is most definitely a part of the meal, and not just an afterthought on the side.