caviar d’aubergine

what’s totally incomprehensible for me today is how i didn’t like aubergines as a kid. why? today, from the perspective of a cook, it’s just the best vegetable there is. so versatile! so full of flavor! such a nice texture! i particularly like it cubed and roasted (as found here). though i must add: my love story with the aubergine is endless, and i try to find new ways to transform it and incorporate it in my meals every week.
exactly the opposite: i would really like to be a fan of tartare – but i suspect i’ll never grow fond of it in this life… a tartare is a sophisticated and light meal, it looks cool and i love how at times you are allowed to assemble it on your own in restaurants. but i admit: i’m just not that fond of raw meat and probably never will be.
so this vegetarian tartare version made from aubergines is a really good alternative for me. it looks just as sophisticated and special as the real, meaty thing. another great use for aubergines.
caviar d’aubergine
ingredients:
2 round eggplants, halved
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
20 black olives, pitted and minced
3 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary needles, minced
1 tbsp. ground cumin seeds
1 tsp. sweet pepper
1/2 tbsp. fleur de sel
5 black pepper corns, freshly ground
1/2 organic lemon, juice
directions:
preheat the oven to 220 degrees fahrenheit with the grill function turned on. half the eggplants, place them on a baking sheet and roast – with the face side up – for half an hour until the eggplant skins are slightly charred. remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
scratch the flesh of the eggplant out with a fork, leaving behind the charred skin. mash it a bit more with the fork if needed. heat the olive oil in a frying pan. stir-fry the eggplant flesh for two minutes, then add the garlic cloves, thyme, rosemary, cumin and pepper. fry for another minute or two. season with salt and pepper. drizzle with lemon juice and a bit more salt if necessary. 
shape with a patissier ring and remove the ring. serve with grilled slices of baguettes and some salted butter.
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