Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eggplant Caponata

I don't think that I've ever experienced so many flavor sensations in one bite as I did with this caponata.  It had hints of sweetness, heat, earthiness, tang, and a creamy nuttiness.  It was kind of wild.  I decided it would be better to make for lunch because I had a sneaking suspicion that I might be the only one in my family who'd like it.  I ate my caponata on top of grilled bread and a little ricotta.  It was a definitely a nice change from the usual turkey sandwich or leftovers from dinner kind of lunch.

Eggplant Caponata

1 large or 2 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
3/4 cup Newman's Own Balsamic Dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped golden raisins
1 teaspoon chili flakes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 baguette sliced

In a large bowl add the eggplant and 1/2 cup of balsamic dressing.  Stir to coat and let sit for 10 minutes.  In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add onions to sauté pan and cook over medium heat until onions are caramelized.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the pine nuts, raisins, and chili flakes to the caramelized onions and stir to combine.  Cook onion mixture for about 3 minutes and then add the eggplant, brown sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder and continue to sauté until the eggplant begins to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in thyme, tomato paste, water, and remaining 1/4 cup dressing.  Cover the pan with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook, covered, for 15 minutes.  Add the salt and taste.  Adjust seasonings if necessary.  Serve on slices of a crusty baguette.

*I would halve the recipe next time.  I had more than enough (especially because I was the only one eating it).

Recipe adapted ever so slightly from Not Without Salt

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