Summer is eggplant time and when I started looking at eggplant recipes I was intrigued with the Sicilian dish Caponata. Caponata can be a stew, a bruschetta topping or even a relish. I'm pairing my version with a Southern staple, fried green tomatoes to add both texture and some acidity. Along with the eggplant I wanted to use Cipollini onions, heirloom tomatoes which are in season plus I could use zucchini, mushrooms and one of my favorite ingredients - pignoli or pine nuts. To add some needed freshness and a touch of sweetness I add one of my favorite ingredient tricks, a splash of white balsamic vinegar. To add a little salty kick a few capers round our Mediterranean treat.
1 medium male eggplant (look for a small round "navel")
6-7 Cipollini onions peeled
2-3 heirloom tomatoes (if available)
1 medium red pepper
1 medium sweet onion
1 small zucchini (optional)
3 mushrooms (optional)
3 Tbsp. white raisons
3 Tbsp. capers
3 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
4 roasted garlic cloves
splash white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
olive oil for sauteing
1. Peel the eggplant and cut into 3/4 inch slices and salt liberally on both side to draw out the moisture. Let sit on a wire rack for thirty minutes to a hour to let the moisture drain. Wipe off the moisture and salt with paper towels. Squeeze the pieces between your hands to remove any remaining moisture and wipe with more paper towels. Cut into 1/2 inch squares and reserve. Roast or saute the peeled Cipollini onions until browned and reserve.
2. Peel and dice the tomatoes into 1/2 in pieces along with the red pepper, sweet onion, zucchini and mushrooms. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to a hot pan and saute eggplant for a couple of minutes then add the rest of the vegetables seasoning as you go. Add the roasted garlic cloves, thyme and oregano, then add the white raisons, capers, and toasted pine nuts. Add the peeled Cipollini onions and a splash of white balsamic vinegar to taste and correct seasonings. Keep warm until serving maybe with fried green tomatoes.
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Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.