Zucchini Caviar from Beyond the Sea

Tzar Ivan the Terrible was a cruel tyrant. Everybody knows that. And just like many things that “everybody knows” and thus nobody questions, the sobriquet “Terrible” should be taken with a grain of salt. Since we are in the middle of Pesach (Passover), I recommend Kosher for Passover Red Sea Salt.

Ilya Yefimovich Repin (1844 - 1930)  Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16th, 1581  Oil on canvas, 1885  199.5 × 254 cm (78.54 × 100 in)  State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow,  Russia

True, he did accidentally kill his son Ivan Ivanovich, but the kid had the temerity to argue with dad! You gotta have respect for your elders! However, look at the other European monarchs, his contemporaries: Henry VIII used to chop off his wives’ heads left and right, presumably considering it much cheaper than suing for divorce (I know, the Pope wouldn’t grant him a divorce, so he eventually became his own Pope – the original DIY guy). Catherine de Medici killed close to 30,000 Huguenots during the Night of St Bartholomew, and that was no accident!

Fast forward four hundred years: in the mid-1970’s, one of the prominent Russian film directors Leonid Gaidai produced a movie “Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Professions” based on a story by Michail Bulgakov. If you want an hour and a half of non-stop laughs, watch this brilliant satire on Soviet reality where a petty tyrant cum apartment manager accidentally changes places with Ivan the Terrible. The great Bulgakov, with his genius, doesn’t only hint at Stalin, especially with the banquet scene (Stalin’s banquets at which he humiliated people by forcing them to dance and make fools of themselves were infamous). He raises a deeper issue: a bully is a bully, whether he is a humble Soviet apartment manager or a powerful monarch, with the only difference that a bully of a monarch would be called a tyrant.

Но-но-но! Челoвек! Челoвек! Официант! Пoчки один раз царице.

This is the banquet scene from the film where the Tzar and his guests are served “red caviar, black caviar, and the caviar from beyond the sea… eggplant.” The movie is chock-full of hilarious lines, but “the caviar from beyond the sea” is probably the best known. If you stop and think, however, you’ll realize that real caviar, both red (salmon roe) and black (beluga or other sturgeon fish) were so plentiful in Russia in 15th – 16th centuries, that cheap taverns used to serve them in huge bowls, to be eaten by spoonfuls. Eggplant, though, was exotic and very pricey, to be found rarely even on a royal table. However, if you again stop and think, and perhaps consult a map, you’ll see that eggplant, coming from India, has traveled quite a distance, but definitely not “from beyond the sea.” Anyway, I’ve already posted a recipe for Eggplant Caviar (please click here), so I am taking an artistic liberty to bring to your attention a vegetable which is actually a fruit and which, in those times, truly came “from beyond the sea” – all the way from Mexico.

zucav 1.jpg

Zucchini Caviar was considered even more of a delicacy than the eggplant one, possibly because it really took some finesse to get it just right. There are many variations of it, but you know how everybody’s grandmother had the best recipe, and mine certainly did! It includes zucchini, carrots, sweet red pepper, onion and garlic, and lots of cilantro. I don’t use tomato paste (you’ll see it in some recipes), but I throw in bits of grape tomatoes, mainly for decoration purposes.

zucav 2

First you dice some onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent. I prefer to use a kazan which is a cast iron pot with a rounded bottom, perfect for sauteing as it distributes the temperature more evenly. I have heard a theory recently that after WWII, Russians started using the round German helmets for cooking pots. The truth, however, is much more interesting and quite romantic. The city of Kazan, today the capital of Tatar Autonomous Republic and one of the five largest cities in the Russian Federation, was founded in the Middle Ages and got its name…  from this cooking pot! According to the legend, a Tatar princess Soyembika dropped a golden kazan into the river, and the city was founded on that spot.

In a famous battle, Ivan the Terrible conquered Kazan and made it a part of Russia (painting by P. Korovin).  His cooks, apparently,  discovered the round pot and made it a part of traditional Russian cooking equipment. No Russian kitchen is complete without an assortment of different sizes of kazans.

zucav 3

Meanwhile, while your onions and garlic are sauteing, you can grate zucchini and carrot and dice pepper. Dicing zucchini will give you more texture, and grating it finely will produce a creamy mass. I prefer the golden middle, even though I don’t have a golden kazan. Throw all these grated and diced veggies into the pot and cover it firmly. In a few minutes, zucchini will produce out its own liquid.

zucav 4.jpg

Now is the time to add salt and pepper (I actually use allspice, but I am sure they didn’t have it in 16th century). Wine is optional but it does enhance the flavor.  Mix it all up, reduce the heat, and saute for about 30 minutes, or until the veggies blend nicely but the texture is still visible.  Meanwhile, you can listen to the original Bobby Darin recording of “Beyond the Sea.”

I like to use little yellow grape tomatoes, but they were nowhere to be found, so in a pinch,  I diced the red ones and added them to the “caviar” when it was almost ready. You want those little tomato pieces to soften just a bit but not disintegrate!

zucav 5

Do you think Ivan the Terrible would’ve enjoyed this dish? They say he had, well, terrible eating habits, gorging himself on whatever was put in front of him without stopping to savor the taste. But who cares; the caviar “from beyond the sea” has graced my Pesach table, and I hope it will enrich yours!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large or two small zucchini (courgette), grated
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 sweet red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 5 – 6 grape tomatoes, diced
  • Salt and allspice to taste
  • 1/4 cup light sweet wine (optional)

PROCEDURE

  • Saute diced onion and garlic until translucent. Add zucchini, carrot, and pepper. Close lid firmly until more liquid appears (about 5 minutes).
  • Season with salt and allspice, add wine and cilantro. Stir, reduce heat, saute for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • When almost ready, add tomatoes.
  • Serve cold.

Enjoy!

 

 

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120 Comments Add yours

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging!

      Like

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, maybe sometimes i really will visit Florida, also to “investigate” Clearwater. Actually we have a research on SC, because we dont know why especially the Bavarian statesmen so anxious about them. Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess it’s not as hot there during the summer – could that be a reason?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hi, oh no. So far, i know Florida only from the 1980th series “Miami Vice”. 😉 However i think its a very beautiful place. Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Miami Vice was filmed a few blocks away from our house, so you do have a fair idea of South Florida.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oh, very nice. But you dont have too much crocodiles there? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Not really, only as pets, and even that trend is out now.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. As pets? Horribly 😉 Ok. young crocodiles might be sweet, but elder ones?

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I am kidding, Michael, it only happens in the movies!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Ok but such a small crocodile could already be a good guard dog. 😉 Only for neighbors which are not so friendly. You understand? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      10. I think, sometimes in future I am going to apply for a green card, in order to do it like some of my ancestors. 😉
        Europe is slowly becoming as uncomfortable as it was centuries ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I know what you mean…

        Liked by 1 person

      12. oh, yes. They try to cover it in the media, but i think its once again becoming a “german thing”. ;-(

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Last time I visited Germany was more than 20 years ago, but I have some friends and relatives who share information.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Ok, than you are best informed. There had been many changes since the last 20 years. Changes that were not so good. The impression that Germany had once again developed megalomania.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. Are you saying that there is no such tendency?

        Like

      16. Gut we are not far away from Grafenwöhr, with a lot of GI’s. So we are secure. Have a nice evening. Think i have to remember the time zones. 😉 Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      17. Thank you, Michael, you too have a nice evening.

        Like

  1. Safek says:

    I love the stories interspersed with the recipes! My husband’s family were originally from the Ukraine and he has a palate for Russian foods. Living in Alaska, we have similar issues getting fresh fruits and vegetables, so I can absolutely relate to an eggplant being something exotic and precious. I spent $25 today just on a small bag of apples, probably about 5 or 6!

    We eat a lot of the same types of things that Russian Jews would have been accustomed to eating. We can grow cabbage easily as well as root vegetables like beets, turnips, parsnips, and carrots. We also have access to many similar cold water fish. So, traditional Ashkenazic recipes are wonderful here and it’s not surprising that many people of Russian descent find their way here. Local Jewish families often have Russian roots a few generations back and our head Rabbi here was born in Russia.

    Anyhow, thank you for sharing this recipe and the wonderful stories! I need to try it out after Pesach!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for a wonderful comment and for sharing some of your husband’s background and of your life in Alaska. We used to can and conserve all the summer fruits and vegetables so that we could have them during the winter. Are you able to do that?

      Like

  2. Again a wonderful recipe, wrapped in a miraculous historical event. Thank you very much for your efforts. I wish you a happy Easter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Michael, and happy holidays to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you very much. Its always a pleasure to reblog. I wish you also a nice holiday. You surely have better weather. We got 6 degrees Celsius with light rain. ;-( Ok, summer will coming soon. Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You should come visit us in Florida! This is the height of the season here, and the weather is just perfect.

        Like

      3. Oh, yes. 😉 I remember the stories of my relative from Minneapolis. He always went to Florida during winter. 😉 Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s right – everybody comes here! 🙂

        Like

  3. calmkate says:

    What a delightful take on history woven throughout this recipe .. especially your take on Henry the Beheader! lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kate! I actually think he was a very creative guy: he liked getting married, again and again, and he found his own way of dealing with the situation. Quite a character!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. calmkate says:

        A total character and I’m always amazed how many still haven’t heard of him!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Are you serious? Don’t they teach history in schools any more?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. calmkate says:

        I’m sure they teach an edited version, but did meet one US blogger who had no idea who he was … and she grew up in UK!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Eartha says:

    I really like this recipe Dolly and believe Ivan the Terrible would have enjoyed it. 😀 This has been added to my must try list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, darling, I am so glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a tasty and light salad/side dish. Perfect for spring. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ronit, your word means a lot to me! Mo-ed Tov!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. flavours2017 says:

    Awesome cooking —— together with ur fantastic write up —– too good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much – I am so glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. 🙂 loved reading the post. 👍🏻 veg Caviar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Ashu, I am so glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A really nice recipe! I like courgettes (zucchini) in preference to eggplant…love the Bobby Darin song too and the historical back ground. Thank you 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Samantha! Since my husband is of the opposite opinion (he hardly tasted it at all), I am making eggplant caviar for him tomorrow – oh well!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Danielle says:

    This looks yummy 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Danielle, I am so glad you like it!

      Like

  10. spearfruit says:

    Excellent recipe – I think caviar “from beyond the sea” will be a favorite of mine! Thanks Dolly, Happy Saturday my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Terry, and I am so glad you are able to enjoy food! Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you sooo much for this recipe along with all its interesting little titbits. I am reblogging this entry, because I am sure that members from my book club will enjoy your tongue-in-cheek historical facts too. A very entertains post. 🌶🍆🤓🍆🌶

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear, your kind comment means a lot to me! Thank you for reblogging as well!

      Like

      1. I love your blog very much. It’s much more than just a recipe share. I like the extra bits you do.🍆🍆

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much – you made my day!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on MarethMB and commented:
    I love reading and putting into practice some of the recipes from KoolKosherKitchen, as well as the writer’s interesting take on some historical events which have influenced some of the culinary delights we enjoy so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderful introduction – I am humbled and delighted!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great colours and looks easy to make. Definitely caviar!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much – I am so glad you like it! The colors would be even better with yellow grape tomatoes, rather than red. Alternatively, you might mix yellow bell peppers with the red ones.

      Like

  14. Sumith says:

    Thank you Dolly for sharing this easy and delicious recipe. As usual loved the tagged story in the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Sumith! Your kind comment means a lot to me!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sumith says:

        Nice to see you after a long time.😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, dear, and I apologize for not visiting your spectacular creations lately. I have just been very busy with Passover preparations.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sumith says:

        You didn’t miss much Dolly. I was away from blogging for a while. Looking forward for your amazing posts.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Is everything ok with you and the family?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Sumith says:

        Every thing good. Thank you Dolly. Hope every thing good from your side.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. [ Smiles ] Food and history tend to go well together.

    And, thank you for posting another splendid vegan recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Renard! I am glad you are finding some of my recipes useful.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow!! Never heard of eggplant, or zucchini caviar! But the dialogue was delightful, as always!! And the dish is declared delectable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Melinda! I am glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Dolly! I’m sure I’d love most anything you cook! And ALL the stories you tell!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. FYI. Funky Cat I just tweeted you. Hope its ok with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can’t tweet me, darling! I am not on any social media, sorry! Untweet me back, please!

      Like

      1. You have the twitter option on your blog. You need not be on twitter to be tweeted. All that will happen is that you may get extra traffic to your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know I have the option, but I don’t want to get involved with any social media. I am not on Facebook, either.Whatever you do is ok with me, but I don’t even know where your tweet will appear.

        Like

      3. Sorry dear, I will delete the tweet.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Don’t worry about it; I do get weird in my own ways… But I am a curious cat: what was it about?

        Like

      5. I have deleted it. As mentioned its just a way to promote your blog and for others to see your awesome posts, visit your blog and possibly follow your blog.
        Sorry I should have asked.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. It’s ok, still friends! Love you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  18. kelleysdiy says:

    I really enjoy reading your stories…I know I have said it before, they are so interesting…learn something new every day!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, dear Linda, I am glad to provide a few minutes of entertainment and a bit of learning as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kelleysdiy says:

        …and it all goes together well with my coffee!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Great! You made my day!

        Like

  19. Recipe looks great. And I LOVE the story!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Christina, I am glad you like it!

      Like

  20. lilyandardbeg says:

    I do love the post 🙂 I’ve always liked the sound of ‘Ivan the Terrible’.
    Foodwise it kind of makes me think about dishes with lots and lots of pepper! Not sure why 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you realize that “terrible” is not a correct translation of “грозный”! I don’t know about lots of pepper, but lots of garlic is there – Dracula will not visit this house.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lilyandardbeg says:

        I really like ‘terrible’- better than ‘dangerous’ as it conveys so much more 🙂 I guess it had more to do with ‘the one provoking/causing terror’ than the newer meaning of ‘not so good’ 😉
        Ha, I don’t do garlic…I’m sure it tastes great (most pungent stuff does) but I just can’t stand the smell (love black pepper, though) x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The best translation is somewhere between “formidable” and “awe-inspiring.”
        Are you sure you don’t have vampiric blood?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. lilyandardbeg says:

        I might…come to think of it nobody in family likes garlic…;)

        Liked by 1 person

      4. and when the moon is full, you grow fangs…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. lilyandardbeg says:

        how did you find out?!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I am a witch – I know things…

        Liked by 1 person

      7. brianandlily says:

        the Wise One 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      8. My grandmother was the wise one; I am only an imitation. “Я не волшебник, я еще только учусь.”

        Liked by 1 person

      9. brianandlily says:

        The Wise One would never admit that she is one…so, here you go, deny as much as you want, I know what I know 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      10. We have a concept of “hidden Tzaddikim” – the righteous ones. There are supposed to be 36 in each generation, and nobody knows who they are until they die. We’ll find out if I were all that wise after my death.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. brianandlily says:

        Well, seriously, you don’t need to wait that long- I can tell you now 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Well, I know you don’t believe in silly superstitions, but I would feel more comfortable if you spit three times over your left shoulder before you say something like that. Make sure your worst enemy is standing there before you do. In case you don’t have enemies, hold your compliments until you do! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      13. brianandlily says:

        I will (as soon as I get home) – just for you 🙂
        I only know one Jewish couple, but they insist on not ‘tempting fate’-so in case you shared their cautiousness, I will spit around like crazy 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Exactly, that’s the idea.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Interesting story Dolly 🙂
    This recipe looks great and I find it usable to serve beside other vegetarian dishes at same table.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Irene, I am glad you like it! Yes, I usually serve an array of vegetable appetizers before the main course.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I came to think to use this together with my not “meet balls” made of beans and vegetables and then made in the oven.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Perfect combination! I use it with black bean burgers and oriental chickpea burgers – great complement.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you Dolly. I use to boil a big pot, when I boil either beans or chickpeas, then freeze them in small bags, ready for easy use another day.
        These bean burgers are made of small white beans and lots of vegetables, then placed at paper for the oven. I added sesame seeds at the top before baking them.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I do the same thing, cook a big pot, then portion out and freeze them. I’ve never tried veggie burgers with white beans – thank you for telling me, now I will!

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Balvinder says:

    Such a wonderful recipe. Hope you had a great Passover!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Bal, I am so glad you like it! I did have a nice holiday, thank you!

      Like

  23. Joëlle says:

    Thank you Dolly for everything: the story, the recipe, and the movie! I am looking forward to discovering Russian cinematographic culture, maybe as soon as this weekend. Last week our son and wife were here and they shared a funny, yet profound, very touching Japanese movie with us: Departures (2008). I highly recommend it. Here is a link for the music

    And one for the movie…

    Not very good, the best link I could find. I’m afraid you’ll have to buy the DVD if you want to fully appreciate it 🙂
    Have you ever had real caviar? Is it really as good as they say? I am waiting for eggplant season before I try your eggplant caviar recipe. Too cold here. We had freezing temperatures last night. Our garden is going to suffer ☹️
    Have a nice day, Dolly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Joelle, for both links. The music is incredible, and I am so looking forward to watching the film with my husband tonight! I don’t know how I missed it; it won the Oscar this year, and I have read the review. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!
      Of course, I had real caviar – I am from Russia! We do buy it one in a while at a Russian deli. We love it, but it’s an acquired taste. My son who was born there (he was 6 when we left), loves it, but our adopted son, born in Israel and brought up in the US, wrinkles his nose and calls it “fish eggs.” Give it a try – you might like it!
      I am sorry to hear about your garden; that’s a shame!
      Have a great day,
      D

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Joëlle says:

        After you have watched the movie, please tell me if you liked it.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Joëlle says:

    P-S: I don’t have a kazan pot (surprised?). Would a wok work the same? (Oh, this is a good starter for a tongue-twister: Would a wok work well? Try saying that and cook at the same time! 😜)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL for tongue twisters! I’ve never tried simmering in a wok. A dutch oven will probably be better.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Joëlle says:

    Hi Dolly! We watched the movie (thank goodness there were subtitles!) and it was fun. I liked the style, but in English I am at a loss for the word I am looking for… I guess I could say it was crazy, and I mean this in a positive way. Thank you for sharing, we had a good laugh 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In English, this style is called “slapstick.” I am glad you enjoyed it. We have not watched “Departures” yet because my husband wanted to watch a TV adaptation of “the Russian novel of the 20th century” – “Master and Margarita” by Bulgakov (the author of the story on which the film you just watched was based). If you are interested, it’s on youtube with English subtitles, but it’s 12 series of sometimes funny, but mostly very serious philosophical and historical material. I would suggest reading it first. Anyway, when we finish watching it, “Departures” is next on the list.

      Liked by 1 person

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