I can pretend that I am suggesting version because technically meat and fish are already banned by the Russian Orthodox church by the week before the Greant Lent begins, so it is more “kosher” to use a vegetarian alternative to real caviar, but the truth is I’m too cheap. But this is actually a really tasty Russian salsa that I am pleased to have discovered.
The recipe comes from: A Year of Russian Feasts by Catherine Cheremeteff Jones
1/3 cup olive oil
1 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia) finely chopped
1 large (1.5 lb) purple eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice or smaller
1 small garlic clove, minced
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or dill or combination
Heat the olive oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and garlic (do not stir), cover, and cook for 3 minutes to allow the eggplant to release some of its juices so it will not absorb too much oil.
Stir the eggplant and onion until well combined, then reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and salt and continue to simmer, stirring about every 5 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes.
If serving hot, transfer the eggplant caviar to a serving dish, garnish with the cilantro, and serve immediately. The dish can also be served at room temperature. (Cover and refrigerate any leftovers)