Poor Man’s Caviar


Serves 4-6 as an Appetizer
  • 3 large eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup tomatoes, diced
  • Pita bread triangles, toasted
  • Fresh herbs (Optional, for garnish)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Generously grease a baking a sheet with olive oil.
  2. Slice the eggplants in half longwise, and place cut-side down on greased baking sheet.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until skin shrivels.
  4. With a spoon, remove the flesh from the eggplants and discard the skin.
  5. Place the eggplant flesh in a strainer over a bowl, and let drain for 15-20 minutes.
  6. In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and add the onions and garlic.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.  Remove from the heat and let cool.
  7. In another small skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add the red bell pepper, and sauté 1-2 minutes, or until slightly tender but still crisp.  Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pinch of pepper.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  8. Chop the drained eggplant finely, and place in a large bowl.
  9. Add the basil, chives, onions, garlic, bell pepper, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Mix well.
  10. Add the diced tomatoes and gently fold in until mixture is well combined.
  11. Serve caviar in a small bowl with pita chips, and garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.


    • For a more refined plating technique, hollow out cherry tomatoes with a melon-baller, and stuff them with the caviar.  Place the lids on top and serve on a platter garnished with arugula and nicoise olives.
    • The onions, garlic, and red bell pepper can be cooked ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to mix the caviar.