This is a bit of a play on words - au couteau means prepared with a knife and is a term uses for steak tar tar au couteau- prepared by hand with a knife - if you ever see this on a menu it's fabulous! So I've applied the same concept to eggplant caviar and instead of purée it in a good processor just mincing it up with a knife and fork makes for a chunkier consistency.
The most important thing about this recipe is fresh shiny eggplants- don't bother making it if you can't find nice firm
Shiny fresh eggplants as the older squishy eggplants are too bitter.
Serves 4-6 as a dip
2 whole medium firm eggplants
6-8 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fleur de sel finishing salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Fresh Basil à la chiffonnade
Start by heating your oven to 375 degrees
Poke a few holes in the whole eggplants to avoid them exploding in the oven. Put them in the back of the oven for 35 minutes or until soft all the way through.
Cut the garlic cloves in half, leaving skins on and place in a small baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 35 minutes in the middle of the oven until soft and lightly browned.
Take ty out the eggplants and let them cool for 4-5 minutes. Ic the garlic isn't quite soft enough leave it in during this time.
Cut the eggplants down one side to open them up - keeping the skins in tact as they make a nice presentation with the caviar or eggplant meat served inside the eggplants skins. Either remove all the inside flesh with a spoon or scrape it away from the skins leaving ot inside the skins - chopping ot into a mince adding olive oil salt pepper and tye roasted garlic, lemon and fresh basil. Serve warm or cold as a dip on bread.