Sunday, May 31, 2009

the condiment kid.

they call me the condiment kid --

i can never leave well-enough alone; if something tastes good as is, i go and slather it with a little something extra.

-- catsup. relish. mustard. hot sauce. chutney. --

they're all a part of my arsenal. sriracha hot sauce is by far my favorite condiment of all time, but that's for another day...

today is all about eggplant caponata, the sicilian "chutney". chutneys are usually associated with indian cuisine, but the caponata's chunky texture and tangyspicysweet flavor is reminiscent of mango chutney, so i'm going to run with it.

this bold, arabian-influenced eggplant preparation can be enjoyed in a variety of ways:

as a condiment --
serve at room temperature on top of toasted bruschetta

as a side --
serve a pipping hot double portion under a grilled chicken breast of fish fillet.

as a main --
toss with your favorite pasta; thin with some pasta water, garnish and you're in business.

Eggplant Caponata

1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 red onion, medium dice
1 tablespoon hot chili flakes, plus extra for garnish
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 TBS pine nuts
3 TBS currants
2 TBS capers
1/4 cup kalmata olives, chopped
2 medium eggplant, 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
1/4 cup chopped Pomi tomatoes
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper, to taste
fresh mint, to garnish

1. sauté onion, garlic and chili flakes in olive oil over medium heat until translucent; about 4-6 minutes.

2. add pine nuts, currants, capers and olives. sauté for 3-5 minutes.

3. add eggplant, sauté until just tender, tossing frequently; 5 minutes. add sugar, cinnamon, and unsweetened cocoa powder; toss to combine.

4. add tomato sauce, thyme and balsamic vinegar. bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. simmer for ~5 more minutes.

--garnish with additional chili flakes, mint chiffonade and just a touch of sea salt.

this recipe is largely lifted from a batali original (suprise, suprise). i added some capers and olives and give a play-by-play.

© 2009 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -

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