I’m a pretty big fan of condiments. Having a bit of a restricted diet means I need to be creative with making healthy food packed with flavour. This classic Serbian dish (pronounced ‘ay-va’) is known as ‘Serbian vegetable caviar’. I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember as it’s my (half-Serbian) Dad’s favourite condiment and we always had a jar in the fridge growing up. It’s pretty easy to find on the super-market shelves, but it’s really so easy to make (and tastes better homemade too), stores in the fridge for a couple of weeks, and makes a great gift. It’s smoky taste from the roasting means it goes great with meat (especially roast lamb), spread it on toast, use it as a dip or mix it through pasta. It’s my favourite way to eat capsicum. It’s my Dad’s birthday today, so I made him up a pot. Here’s the recipe:
Makes about 3 cups of relish
- 4 red capsicums
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 clove garlic – finely chopped/crushed
- 1 Tbs white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Heat the oven to grill
- Roast the eggplants and capsicum (leave the oven door slightly ajar) until their skins are blackened. (You can roast them whole and just rotate them every now and then, or I find it’s quicker and easier as you don’t have to rotate, to remove the capsicum seeds & stems, quarter them up and arrange skin-side up on a baking tray; and cut the eggplants into quarters and roast with their skin-side up.)
- Once blackened, carefully place all pieces in a plastic bag and tie to make airtight so the skins can sweat off
- Once cool enough to touch, discard all the skins (and any capsicum seeds / stalks if you roasted them whole)
- Add roasted capsicum & eggplant flesh to a blender, along with garlic & vinegar/lemon juice and whiz until all combined well.
- Season to your taste, then add the oil (in a steady stream) which will give it a nice shininess. Blend until it’s at your desired level of smooth/chunkiness.
- Store in a sterilized, airtight jar in the fridge (it will keep for a couple of weeks).