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Eggplant Caponata

By 18 April 2017

Market Kitchen

Eggplant Caponata

4-6 servings

Ingredients:

Caponata:
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, small dice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons currants   (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • Eggplant (approximately 2 medium or 2 pints of the mini’s-  skin on, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (to yield 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Basic tomato sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1.5 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1” medium carrot, finely grated
  • 2 lbs plum tomatoes, blanched and peeled, crushed by hand and juices strained of seeds and reserved
  • Salt

Caponata:

  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, small dice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons currants   (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • Eggplant (approximately 2 medium or 2 pints of the mini’s-  skin on, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (to yield 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Basic tomato sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1.5 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1” medium carrot, finely grated
  • 2 lbs plum tomatoes, blanched and peeled, crushed by hand and juices strained of seeds and reserved
  • Salt

Directions:

Start by preparing the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft then add the garlic and continue to cook until it turns a light brown color. Add the thyme and carrot and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the carrot has softened all the way through. You want the carrot to be able to easily break apart and melt into the tomato puree. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stir often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce is thick. Season with salt and serve or hold in the refrigerator for up to one week. Or cool the sauce and freeze it for up to 6 months.

Now that the tomato sauce is ready, it’s time to start the main dish:

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the pine nuts, currants and chili flakes to the pan.
Now, add the eggplant to the pan and allow it to cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the thyme, tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar. Bring all of the ingredients in the pan to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Remove the caponata from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. This dish is even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to marry.

Start by preparing the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft then add the garlic and continue to cook until it turns a light brown color. Add the thyme and carrot and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the carrot has softened all the way through. You want the carrot to be able to easily break apart and melt into the tomato puree. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stir often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce is thick. Season with salt and serve or hold in the refrigerator for up to one week. Or cool the sauce and freeze it for up to 6 months.

Now that the tomato sauce is ready, it’s time to start the main dish:

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the pine nuts, currants and chili flakes to the pan.
Now, add the eggplant to the pan and allow it to cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the thyme, tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar. Bring all of the ingredients in the pan to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Remove the caponata from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. This dish is even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to marry.

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