"I still love canned sardines, served simply on top of salad with finely sliced onion and sprinkling of red wine vinegar". Jacques Pepin, The Apprentice
The main inspiration for this dish is Pepin's way of using canned sardines. I substituted anchovies with sardines but the fish flavor was too strong. Then I experimented with tapenade because it already contains anchovies, and I thought about eggplant because of the word caviar which is salt-cured fish-eggs. And I think it worked.
oil-packed anchovy fillets
green olives, pitted
good olive oil
fresh lemon juice
garlic clove (green shoot removed), grated
red wine vinegar
salt (or more depending on the olives saltiness)
freshly ground black pepper
small red onion, finely chopped
In This Recipe
Roast the eggplant on the stove. Place the eggplant on the gas stove top on medium high heat. With tongs rotate it to make sure all the skin gets charred evenly. Once the skin is charred, seal the eggplant in a zip log bag. This will give the eggplant a chance to cook a bit more, to sweat, and to cool down.
After about 10 minutes, remove the eggplant from the zip lock bag. The eggplant will still be warm. Peel off the charred skin. If some black remains from the skin, that's OK.
Place the eggplant in the food processor. Add the garlic and process for 10 seconds. We start with the garlic so it cooks a little bit with the heat from the eggplant. Then add the anchovies and the rest of the ingredients except the onions. Blend for a minute or two until the mixture becomes a coarse paste. You can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil if you think it will help the blending, otherwise proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the chopped onions. Process just to combine. We want to keep the onions in pieces.
Transfer to a bowl and serve at room temperature with pita bread, or baguette.