Eggplant Caponata

October 21, 2015

After eating eggplant  caponata almost everyday when I owned a Italian restaurant in San Francisco, you would think I was done with eggplant caponata. But I’m not and with good reason. It’s such a great transition dish from summer to fall with its warm spices & sweet cocoa powder infused in summer tomatoes and eggplant. Also if you don’t have a night shade issue, eggplant is a major cancer fighter! Here is my recipe.

1/2 cup virgin olive oil

1 large Spanish onion, chopped in 1/2-inch dice

3 tablespoons pine nuts

3 tablespoons raisins

1 tablespoon hot chili flakes, plus extra for garnish

2 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (to yield 4 cups)

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon

1/4 cup basic tomato sauce

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

5 sprigs mint, chopped

In a large 12 to 14-inch saute pan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onions, pine nuts, currants and chili flakes and saute for 4 to 5 minutes until softened.

Add the eggplant, honey, cinnamon, and cocoa and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add the thyme, tomato sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, garnish with mint and chili flakes.

Tomato Sauce:

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

By admin