I have been thinking about old family recipes, traditions I could pass on. This one came from my Aunt Marie-Paule, born in the Savoie region and a pharmacist in Paris for most of life. She bought her own small community pharmacy and did not have much money left after the payments, but she liked good food, was a fabulous cook and this was one of her favorite rants, “le caviar du pauvre”. La pauvre, it was her! The name caviar came from the eggplant or aubergine seeds, which create an illusion of the eggplant being a roe like fish caviar.
You need three eggplants, fresh and firm. They will peel well with a Y-shaped potato peeler. Once peeled, slice them but do not remove the seeds. Spread the slices on a cookie sheet, salt, sprinkle with thyme and drizzle with olive oil, and roast for an hour at 340. Layers are okay, just turn the slices over half way. Do not let them burn (use foil protection if necessary) but brown is good.
Chop 1/4 cup parsley, 1/2 sweet onion, 4 cloves garlic with 3 tbsps olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, hot sauce to taste, 10 black olives and the cooked eggplant in the food processor. Make sure to stop before it is puréed, so you can feel the eggplant seeds, the caviar!
I bought a jar of caviar d’aubergine, recette méditerranéenne, when I was last in France, they seem to use the same ingredients, but the texture was too fine and it was not nearly as good as made from scratch. Because they sold it at the price of real caviar, or almost, I guarantee you that the result is well worth the trouble of roasting a few eggplants.
Eat cold with rustic bread or make a bruschetta. This yields about two small mason jars.