Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Caponata from Chris

Chef Chris Voigtsberger at local restaurant Acacia shared this recipe for eggplant Caponata, a Sicilian dish, often served as a topping for bruschetta.  It makes a great vegetarian main dish, and you can also toss it with pasta, or dollop it over polenta, rice, quinoa, farro, or whatever your heart desires.  It also makes an excellent side, especially with fish.  The combination of sweet and briny flavors with the silky texture of well-cooked eggplant is hard to beat.  Caponata freezes well, so make up a big batch while these summer veggies are still available!

from Chef Chris Voigtsberger at Acacia

serves 4 as an appetizer, side, or sauce; 2-3 as a main dish

1 large Italian eggplant or 2-3 small eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 onion, medium diced
2 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup raisins
3 Tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (according to spiciness preference)
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, or 1 15.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
salt, pepper, sugar to taste
fresh basil

olive oil

Heat saucepan with about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  When hot, add red pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds.  Add onion and garlic together and sweat over low heat until translucent.

Add eggplant and cook until it begins to soften slightly (about 5 minutes).  Then add raisins, capers, cinnamon, allspice, and tomatoes, plus a pinch of sugar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer and stew for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is very soft and tomatoes have broken down.  You may need to add a little water if the pan begins to dry out.  

Sprinkle finished dish with plenty of chopped fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve as desired (see above).

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