Foodiva's Kitchen: French Fridays with Dorie - Eggplant Caviar and Purple Sweet Potato Flatbread

Friday, August 19, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - Eggplant Caviar and Purple Sweet Potato Flatbread


The day I shot these photos, the weather was errant and uncooperative. One minute bright sunlight was streaming through the windows, followed by a dim room the next minute when clouds suddenly covered the sun. And then strong gusts of wind blew in through the windows lifting all my garnish off from the plates and transporting them someplace else in the kitchen. As food bloggers, you and I know that good light and still air are our best friends on any photoshoot session but on the day I made this, the elements decided to "unfriend" me. 


But like a foodie trooper, I plodded on and managed some decent pictures of this week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Eggplant Caviar or caviar d’aubergine. It was another very easy summery recipe from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, Around My French Table and a joy to make. Despite being called caviar, we thankfully didn't have to mess around with any fish like we did for last week's Salmon in a Jar. This 'caviar' is actually a glammed-up dip made from the flesh of roasted eggplants.



As simple as it was to prepare, I wondered why I'd never eaten this before. Or that maybe I had but didn't know what it was called or that it was made from eggplant. For the record, I did something unspeakable which I'm now going to confess to you....I told my food tasters the the dip was guacamole. Sacriligious, I know, but that lie resulted in them happily tucking into this. Amazing. You see, any time I utter the word 'eggplant' in this house, everyone would run a mile in the opposite direction. I love this purple vegetable a lot (the color probably has a lot to do with it) and often wonder why my eggplant-eating gene isn't shared by anyone else in my family.

Garlic slivers inserted before roasting

After roasting

The eggplants I used were a mix of slender Asian ones and those round, purple ones (that's as scientific as I get, I'm afraid). I inserted thin slivers of garlic in a few of them as Dorie recommended to attain that depth of flavor. After scooping out the baked eggplant flesh, it was added to the fresh herbs - coriander/cilantro, basil and thyme - in a food processor because I wanted the dip to be smoother in texture. I also substituted the lemon zest and juice with that of lime.

Get that skillet smokin' HOT!

To accompany the dip, I made some whole wheat flatbreads using a 'roti' recipe containing sweet potato. As it turned out, I have one lone purple sweet potato left in my pantry so I used that, a perfect pairing (color-wise too) to the eggplant caviar. The flatbread recipe is a no-brainer, you just mash the boiled sweet potatoes with a little flour and water and hey presto! you have the dough. Then just cook it on a really hot skillet until it puffs up and chars like a tortilla.


So that's it. One more French Friday gone by just like that. This is my 15th recipe from AMFT (I've missed a few) since I joined and so far, I've had a ball! Hope the other Doristas feel the same way, won't you please shower them with some love too by visiting their links here?

It's Friday, and I know you've all got a foot in the weekend already. To celebrate the end of another week, enjoy Corinne Bailey Rae's music and go ahead, let your hair down!



Post Update: By popular demand (haha), I've decided to include the recipe for the flatbreads below.

Purple Sweet Potato Roti (Flatbreads)
Makes: Around 6-7 flatbreads
Ingredients:
1 medium (200g) purple sweet potato, peeled and chopped into chunks.
1 cup whole wheat (atta) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder (optional)
1/2 cup water

Method:
1. Boil the sweet potatoes in a pot of water until soft. Drain off the water.
2. Mash hot potatoes in a food processor until mushy, or simply use a potato masher.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead into a soft pliable dough.
4. Divide dough into 6-7 small, golf-sized balls
5. Press each ball down with the palm of your hands and with a rolling pin, roll into thin flatbreads.
6. Cook with a little butter or olive oil on a hot skillet for about 1-2 minutes.
7. Flip it to the other side and press down on flatbread with a wooden spoon until it puffs up and chars a little, about 1 minute.
8. Serve hot or slightly cooled with a dip.

47 comments:

Ei said...

How pretty is that presentation? You put my delicious globby mess to shame! lol I love how your sweet potato bread mimics the original eggplant. And there's no shame in calling it guacamole. Whatever it takes to get the kids to eat it!

Three-Cookies said...

I have eaten eggplant prepared in a similar way but didn't call it caviar - maybe calling it caviar makes it taste more delicious psychologically, like calling it guacamole:) Have a nice weekend.

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

As creative as ever Maya! Love the purple flat breads. And you lied to your kids! Shame on you ;-) The caviar looks wonderful.

Cher said...

You are always such a clever duckie! Way to add a punch of color to a potentially drab dish.

PFx said...

Hahahah! I get how you can pass them as guacamole, the herbs colouring...
I used to hate eggplant when I was little, but now it's one of my favourite, it's always my quest to make every like em.
I wonder what the round eggplant taste like when it's roasted? I never had them roasted, is it different? Hmm. Great bite there Maya!

Pachecopatty said...

Oh the light, the light, the light!
I love all your colors in this FFWD post and I'm an eggplant lover too so your dish looks very good to me!

Foodness Gracious said...

Beautiful colors and a great job with the pictures even with the elements messing with you!
Thanks as always..

Adrian (Food Rehab) said...

I made some chips using purple sweet potato last weekend- so good so this recipe would definitely be added to me list. Love Corinne Bailey’s cover of Prince’s ‘I wanna be your lover” – so funky but sweet. Give it a go

Foodiva said...

Ei, if my picky kids are as easy as your healthy-eating son, I'd never have to lie about my food ever again! I actually wanted to take a photo of my globby caviar once I made it, but I got distracted by the tempramental weather and forgot!

Foodiva said...

Three-Cookies, never mind disguising this as guacamole...calling an eggplant dip 'caviar' apparently had a profound psychological effect on the adults eating it too!

Foodiva said...

Evelyne, it was a WHITE lie! LOL. I know that you for one would get that purple thing ;-).

Foodiva said...

Cher, I never set out to be, that's the thing. It's just that sometimes when I'm doing something, inspiration strikes from nowhere...or maybe it's just the (desperate) need to use up some leftover ingredients! LOL.

Foodiva said...

Pierre, you must share what it took to make you like eggplants as a grown up. Maybe I can use your technique to make my eggplant-repelling kids convert from their negative thinking! These round purple eggplants are not sour like the round green ones, so when roasted they taste just like grilled eggplants...earthy, delicious.

Foodiva said...

Hahaha, Patty, you said it girl! We all need to see the light... Eggplant lovers unite!

Foodiva said...

Gerry@Foodness Gracious, thank you. It took sheer determination to shoot this on the day I made it, we couldn't possibly wait that long for the sun to get its act together before tucking into this!

Foodiva said...

Adrian, those purple sweet potato chips sound lovely. Tried making it once but after I cooked the chips, they no longer looked purple but brown! Love Corrine's cover of that song too, thanks for reminding me :-).

August 19, 2011 3:04 PM

Lizzy said...

Maya, you always rock these challenges! Gorgeous photos despite the wind...and I'm giggling that you told your children this was guacamole! My hubby would have rejected that, too :)

Ann said...

Absolutely stunning! I LOVE eggplant caviar and your photos - despite the challenges - are stellar.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Love your purple bread :) And I too, found myself wondering why I had not made this before... Nice job!

yummychunklet said...

Looks fantastic! I simply love the purple sweet potato flatbread!

Jenny VintageSugarcube) said...

I'm rolling over laughing at you telling the kiddos it was guacamole. Hehehehe.. Gorgeous pictures and mad, fabulous creativity as always my friend! Have a great weekend!! :)

DessertByCandy said...

The purple hue of those flatbread is such a nice echo of the eggplants before roasting! The globe eggplants with all the garlic sticking out makes me laugh for some reason. They look like some strange weapons in video games!

tastymayhem said...

the photos seriously make me want to lick my computer screen. the flatbread is a great idea, especially with the purple sweet potato. Giving me ideas...

Kathy said...

You always do such a wonderful job with presentation! Just love your beautiful photos and your creativity! Have a lovely week-end!

Tammy said...

I love your presentation ... so pretty.

Betsy said...

You might be envious of my lush looking eggplant, but I'm envious of a purple sweet potato. I've never seen one of those before. I love the color it gives to your flatbread. Such a nice contrast to the color of the eggplant guacamole.

Elaine said...

I really like the way you plated them in the first photo. Glad the weather cooperated for you. :) I like the idea of the sweet potato flatbread. I am so glad your family liked your guacamole! :)

tricia s. said...

Oh my goodness - you ALWAYS do such an amazing job with the FF recipes. I loved your presentation from the first photo - that purple flatbread is gorgeous. And genius. Absolutely lovely. And good for you for getting the kids to eat it via creative descriptions. Actually it felt more like a guacamole to me than caviar,so technically I don't think you fibbed :) Nana was not a big fan this week but I will definitely try to get her on board when I make this again. I think mine was a bit too oniony and that my ratio of ingredients was off since I was in a rush. Still glad to get it done-always fun.

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Maya... I don't know what to say. You are not just a foodie. You really have some extraordinary talent. I'd be clueless and give up but you just always do superb job (despite you think it was hard etc). Very creative and I'm really impressed (as always!!!!). I want to eat sweet potato flat bread... genius!

Foodiva said...

As usual, thank you Doristas! You're all a very generous bunch with your time and comments ;-).

Foodiva said...

Betsy, if you can get hold of regular purple potatoes (which isn't ever available here), then you're all set to make this flatbread! Just remember not to add any baking soda or powder or you'll have blue bad instead... ;-).

Foodiva said...

Tricia, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who can pass this off as guacamole...haha. Creative descriptions, I really like the sound of that! Next time you make this, leave out the onions or caramelize them and I'm sure they'll taste better. Once Nana tastes your next batch, I bet you she'll be won over :-).

Foodiva said...

Nami, Nami...you're talking about a novice in the kitchen here! Haha..but thanks, flattery will get you everywhere with me, I'm that immodest :-). I can get pretty clueless too, but sometimes inspiration stares me right in the face - like that lone purple sweet potato. It was begging to be used up!

something_good said...

We have over here an eggplant salad and there are some restaurants calling it caviar :)
It's a favorite of mine (I adore the smell of roasted eggplants).
Your dish looks exquisite & photos are great!

onewetfoot.com said...

I didn't bake the eggplant with the slivers of garlic - I'll have to do that next time, or roast some garlic alongside the eggplant. Love the sweet potato flatbread. It's so beautiful! So many Doristas tried to keep the eggplant under the radar for their families. I'm glad your kids tucked in to the "guacamole."

ashley@bakerbynature said...

This looks amazing; I am picking up some eggplants tomorrow!

Elin said...

Maya...you are so clever to pair it with purple potato flatbread ! Wonderful! I made some sopes to go with it and it turned out great too :)

the [sugar] apothecary said...

Aw, I love Corinne Bailey Ray! Good sendoff to the weekend :)

I am so jealous of your round, teeny eggplants! I have giant, fat ones, narrow Chinese ones, and petite, dark purple Italian ones, but I've never seen spherical ones. I may take your advice and pass it off as guacamole... Mike would go for that, I think!

Those sweet potato roti sound SO good. I can almost smell that delicious char! Love that rectangular dish, by the way (with the roti dough balls)!

lola said...

You and my husband are in agreement - this tasted like guacamole! I'm glad your kids enjoyed it, all's fair in getting kids to eat their veg! I would love your recipe for the sweet potato flatbread. And thanks for the music!

Foodiva said...

Christine@the sugar apothecary, I just found out that those round eggplants are called globe eggplants. I'm sure I've seen them on someone's blog in the States (but can't recall whose blog now!), so you should be able to get them there. Yes, those rotis totally rock. Since many people have commented on them, I'm going to post the recipe here (not that there really is much of a recipe).

Foodiva said...

Lola, haha...I wasn't too far off the mark with my little fib! As for the flatbread recipe, I'll post it up here and also email it to you. And the music, it's nice to serenade in the weekend, isn't it?

Cakelaw said...

I love your sweet potato flatbread - thanks for sharing the recipe! It's a fab idea for serving eggplant caviar (which I didn't get a chance to make this week.)

Anne@frommysweetheart said...

I've been seeing everyone's eggplant caviar. This looks divine. (I LOVE eggplant!) And I like the play of shadows and light in your photos...even if the weather didn't cooperate with you! I also love that you post music on your blog. I do the same thing when I post a cocktail! I'm glad I came across this site. It's lovely! : )

Russell van Kraayenburg said...

I love the colors! Purple is one of my favorite colors so it's fun to see it in food, especially because it is a fairly rare color. It pops with the green. Yum!

Nippon Nin said...

I love that part you inserted garlic into the egg plants. Love the color and artistic presentation, of course photos too. Really nice!

Adora's Box said...

I like eggplants anyway you serve it. Love it more if on purple sweet potato flatbread.I used to eat alot of those in my younger days (long, long ago). Nowhere to be found here in the land of UK though. I completely sympathize with the light situation there. You know how it is in these parts.

Steph said...

Maya, even though the elements weren't cooperating, you managed some really lovely photos. I really like the one of all the eggplants. I also love the purple flatbread! Inspired and inspiring!!

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