This unusual rendition of caponata I found on MyDiverseKitchen blog. I followed the directions to the tee, making my own tomato sauce, too. Actually, I lie. I didn’t add as much chili flakes as called for, because we just don’t like our food overly spicy. But we did enjoy this dish very much – unique flavors, very robust, and satisfying. On crusty, homemade garlic bread, it was somewhat addictive. A very sociable dish.
Eggplant and fig caponata
for the tomato sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic paste
1 medium size onion, diced
3 medium red tomatoes, diced
1/2 medium carrot, grated finely
salt to taste
for the caponata:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 big purple eggplant
1 medium onion, diced into 1/2″ pieces
2 – 3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 dried figs, chopped
1/8 teaspoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried celery
1/3 cup tomato sauce (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried mixed Italian herbs
salt to taste
First make the tomato sauce: Run the chopped onion and tomato in the blender to a chunky consistency. Do not puree the mixture. Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic paste and saute for a minute. Add the chunky onion-tomato mixture, grated carrot and salt. Cook till the raw smell of onion disappears and everything is well cooked and the consistency of a very thick sauce. (about 8-10 minutes). Set aside.
Now make the caponata: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut off the stalk on the eggplant and cut into half lengthwise. Place cut side down on a greased baking tray and lightly coat the eggplant halves with oil. Bake for about 20-25 minutes till the skins turn brown (not burnt). Take them out and let cool. Peel the skins off and chop the eggplant into 1/2″ cubes.
Heat remaining olive oil in a pan. Add the onions and saute for a couple of minutes, till they become a little soft. Add the pine nuts, figs, chili flakes and cook for about 5 minutes, on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Now add the chopped eggplant, brown sugar, tomato sauce (from above), balsamic vinegar, and salt. Cook this for another 5 minutes or so on medium heat til done. Add the dried celery and the other herbs. Mix well and take it off the heat. Serve on toasted baguette or garlic bread slices. Makes 4 servings.