Monday, May 23, 2011

Eggplant caponata

Over cocktails at the beloved Beretta, we shared eggplant caponata with burrata and cauliflower with pangratatto, capers, and sage. While the cauliflower didn't hold a candle to my favorite roasted cauliflower with capers, pine nuts, and parsley, the eggplant caponata was wonderfully delicious. What I loved the most about Beretta's version, aside from the to-die-for-burrata, was that it was chunky and dotted with large pieces of olives and other components of the spread.

Eggplant caponata is tangy, salty, and outright delicious! It makes a wonderful bruschetta topping. I was inspired to make a chunky version at home so I left the eggplant in chunks rather than pureeing it, resulting in something similar to an eggplant salad. But no matter what you call it, it is deliciousness in a bowl! And it tastes even better if left overnight.

Roasted tender eggplant is tossed with tangy and pungent goodness like capers, green and kalamata olives, tomatoes, scallions, and red onions, drizzled with a red wine lemony vinaigrette, and finished with toasted pine nuts and parsley.  Let it sit for half an hour (or longer) before serving to let the flavors meld together beautifully.

We served this with cucumber, mint, and garlic yogurt (cacik in Turkish) and sweet roasted red peppers. We were practically licking the bowls clean!

Eggplant Caponata
1 eggplant
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tomato, diced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
parsley, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup large pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
2 heaping tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
1 tbsp red wine vinegar, more to taste
2 tbsp lemon juice
olive oil

Preheat oven at 425. Slice eggplant into 1 to 1.5" wedges. Toss lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning once halfway, until tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and red wine vinegar. In a large bowl, combine eggplant, red onion, garlic, tomato, scallion, olives, and capers. Toss with lemon vinaigrette. Add pine nuts. Season with salt (lightly) and pepper. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to let the flavors meld. Top with parsley and serve.

Cucumber, mint, garlic yogurt (Cacik)
2.5 cups plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeled, and graed or finely diced
8-10 fresh mint leaves
extra virgin olive oil

Beat together yogurt, garlic, and salt until smooth. Add cucumber and 1 cup cold water, mixing well. Garnish with mint and a few drops of olive oil. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and serve cold.

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