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Eggplant Caviar

Eggplant Caviar (from Margaret Hoffman)

2 large eggplants (or 3-4 small to medium) (be sure to pierce them at least once to prevent an explosion of eggplant guts all over your oven)
1 large onion, chopped: any kind of onion will do, but I prefer red onions
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (I use many more)
1 small can of tomato paste
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional additions include olives, capers, chopped red bell pepper

  1. Bake the eggplants whole at 350 degrees for about an hour (turn once or twice during baking).  Remove from oven and let stand to cool.
  2. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil over low heat.
  3. When eggplant is cool enough to handle, remove skin and stem and chop up this wet sloppy mess.
  4. When onions are soft and translucent, add chopped eggplant to frying pan and stir often to cook off extra liquid.
  5. When eggplant starts to stick to bottom of the pan, add the tomato paste (you don’t have to add the whole can, stir it in until it has the amount of tomato you think is right for the amount of eggplant).
  6. Add more olive oil and stir and cook until it starts sticking to the pan (the sticking is good as long as it doesn’t burnt; the caramelization adds flavor).
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Drizzle a bit of olive oil in bottom of small baking dish.  Transfer mixture to baking dish, spreading it out even and smooth on top.  Drizzle more olive oil over the top. Cover with foil.
  9. Cover and bake for about 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes.
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