Saturday, January 25, 2014

Eggplant Caponata

Caponata. A Sicilian eggplant dish that is a little sweet, a little sour and a little umami in each bite. It's depth of flavor is similar to what you would find when eating a beautiful Oaxacan Mole sauce. It's a terrific appetizer served with fresh burrata cheese and crostini or as a side dish with dinner or even layered in a lasagna or a pasta sauce. I find it delicious hot and room temperature which makes it great for entertaining and picnics. 

Caponata 
Serves 3-4 

Ingredients
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/3 cup sherry wine or (dry marsala)
3 cloves garlic, minced into paste  
1 yellow onion, diced 
3 Tbsp pine nuts 
3 Tbsp dried currants
1 Tbsp dried hot chili flakes 
1 large eggplant (4 cups), cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 Tbsp Sugar 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup good tomato sauce (I like Rao's Arrabbiata
1/3 cup good balsamic vinegar (I like Ferrari Godfather
Fresh Mint and Basil, chopped for finishing 
Kosher Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste 
grated parmesan cheese, optional 

Method
1. Heat oil in sauté pan. Add onions, currants, pine nuts, and garlic. Saute 5 minutes and then deglaze pan with sherry. Cook until dry. 
2. Add Eggplant, herbs, and chili flakes and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add balsamic and tomato sauce. Cook for 3-5 minutes more. Taste and season with salt and pepper. 
3. Serve sprinkled with fresh chopped basil and mint and grated parmesan (optional) 

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