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Eggplant spread (Baklazhannaia Ikra)

by practicewithdanielle
Eggplant spread in a bowl on a counter next to toast with dill on top

My goal for this little global culinary challenge is to try 2 new recipes a week. But what I failed to realize is that I don’t always nail it on the first go. See: loaves and loaves of less-than-perfect Black Russian Bread in my kitchen.

Now I need to make something to put on top of said test bread.

Most of the time I gravitate towards the same bread toppings – avo, hummus, peanut butter, tomatoes/olive oil/balsamic, yadayada. But what if you could have something that is:

  1. Healthy
  2. Simple
  3. Unique
  4. Delicious

One reason I love Russian food is that at the heart of it, most of the recipes are made from very simple ingredients. I’m not at 5 different grocery stores looking for obscure spices or flours. And this recipe is no exception.

Eggplant spread in a bowl on a counter next to toast

This eggplant spread (Baklazhannaia Ikra) also known as, poor man’s caviar (ahem, me). You can find lots of recipes on the internet but basically, this dish comes down to eggplant that is ultra cooked and soft, turning it into a luscious and flavorful spread. I got my recipe from boyfriend’s mom because she cooks the best healthy Russian food.

Also if you have the chance to pick a recipe from the internet or ask an expert – you go with the expert.

Now I’m no expert, but I’m here to tell you this spread is insanely tasty.

Eggplant spread on toast on a white countertop

There are THREE ingredients in this spread. Plus a couple pantry staples. It looks like it takes a long time to make, but most of that time is waiting for the eggplant to come out of the oven or waiting for the eggplant to come together on the stove. Then it’s just waiting for the eggplant to cool so you can get it in your face.

PS – you’ll see the bread pictured here is, IN FACT, the Russian Black Bread. I think I’ve finally nailed it and the recipe will be out later this week.

Eggplant spread in a bowl on a counter next to toast with dill on top

Eggplant spread (Baklazhannaia Ikra)

(Start making 90 minutes before you want eggplant spread)

2 Eggplants (medium sized, but not terribly important)
2 medium tomatoes (roma works)
3 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt/Pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 420F. Line a sheet pan with foil and cut the tops off the eggplant. Poke little holes around your eggplant so the steam can escape while they roast in the oven. Place your eggplants in the oven for about 55 minutes, turning halfway.
When you remove them from the oven, place a plate or pan or something heavy-ish on top of the eggplants. This helps the bitter liquid drain out of them.
Start a medium pan on the stove, with your olive oil, on low heat. Once cool enough to handle, scrape the cooked eggplant out of the skin into your pan. Then cut your tomatoes in half, and scrape the insides out into the pan (leave the skins out).
You’ll sautee this and start to crush the tomatoes and break down the eggplant as the mixture gets warmer. Add salt/pepper along the way to your taste. The mixture will be on the stove for about 30 minutes until there is no liquid pooling and it all comes together into a delicious spread.
This spread is ideally served cold, paired with your favorite bread or really anything that allows you to scoop heaps of this into your face.

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