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Russian Baklazhannaia Ikra

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, peelec, chopped, seeded
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons black pepper
  • dark rye or pumperknickel bread

Instructions

(Eggplant spread). Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake the eggplant on the middle rack for about an hour, turning it over once or twice untill it is soft and it's skin is charred and blistered. Meanwhile, cook the onions in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil over moderate heat untill they are soft but not brown (6-8 mins). Stir in the green pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes longer. With a ruber spatula, scrape the contents of the skillet into a mixing bowl. Remove the skin of the egplant with a sharp knife, then chop the pulp finely, almost to a puree (it should be almost soft enough to stir in). Add it to the mixing bowl and stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt, and a few grindings of black pepper. Mix together thouroughly. Heat the two remaining tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet over moderate heat and pour in the eggplant mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then turn the heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer for an hour. Remove the cover and cook for another half-hour, stirring from time to time, untill all the moisture in the pan has evaporated, and the mixture is firm enough to hold it's shape in a spoon. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and chill, covering it with plastic wrap, untill ready to serve. Serve on pieces of rye bread.

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