Sicilian Eggplant and Pine Nut Caponata Recipe

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Why This Recipe Works

  • Lowering eggplant into smaller pieces precludes the need for any brining or salting sooner than sautéing.
  • Alongside side the substances within the correct inform methodology that you must perchance perchance maybe cook the general dish in a single skillet.

Imagine if some frequent Nickelodeon govt was once to sift assist thru the vaults of TV historical previous and whisper to himself, “We are going to get a level to the set Uncle Jesse and Launchpad McQuack force around in Kit from Knight Rider, MacGyvering themselves weapons to battle the horrible forces of He-Man and Orko and their sidekick Dave Coulier (from his You Can not Create That On Tv years, no longer his Paunchy Condominium years). Per week will characteristic a special guest well-known person drawn from the solid of Monumental Pals.” Your first realizing would be wow, that’s a amount of good to strive and fit into one single level to, however whereas that you must perchance perchance maybe be the relaxation like me, that realizing will possible be quick supplanted by a 2d: holy crap, that’s a full bunch of good in a single level to!

Caponata, the Sicilian dish of eggplant and various greens sautéed in a candy-and-sour sauce, is roughly like that. Filled with extra-virgin olive oil, raisins, pine nuts, herbs, vinegar, sugar, and a slew of assorted substances, it’ll be shockingly flavorful the first time you strive it. And I’m no longer the utilization of the be conscious shockingly lightly right here. It’s a ways the roughly dish it’s a need to-need to recalibrate all of your mouth for in inform to if truth be told esteem. However once that recalibration is done, man oh man is it immense stuff.

My partner and I took a time out to Sicily a pair of years ago and whereas that you must perchance perchance moreover possess by no methodology been, let me inform you: It’s fully nothing like the relaxation of Italy. Obvious, they focus on Italian (albeit with heavy accents and alongside their native dialects), however the meals, the tradition, and the of us are fully assorted. (No longer to recount the riding—riding a automobile down the slim streets of Palermo or Catania makes weaving thru the motorbikers on Bali seem like a stroll down a huge Paris avenue). Sicily’s culinary historical previous is wildly various. Arab rule within the tenth century introduced candy dried fruits, nuts, and warmth spices to delicious dishes. The Spanish introduced Contemporary World substances like chocolate and peppers. The Greeks and North Africans possess left their designate on the cuisine. The climate itself makes it ultimate for growing tomatoes, eggplants, and olives (and you get these substances in each set).

And all of these items get their diagram into caponata. Is it an appetizer? A aspect dish? A pasta sauce? A meal unto itself? The resolution is sure: It’s all of these items at one time or one other, though I have confidence that reckoning on how you intend to assist it, the flavor ought to alter rather of bit. The roughly flavor overload I’d prefer as a pair of bites on high of a high-quality piece of garlic-rubbed bruschetta would get fatiguing as a full foremost route-sized fragment (and on the general I for my fragment capture to assist it as the frequent).

“For caponata, the eggplant pieces are nick sufficiently miniature that their increased surface position helps them cook down mighty faster than greater wedges or slices of eggplant could perchance perchance.”

No longer lengthy ago, I wrote about Sichuan-vogue eggplant with hot and sour sauce. In that recipe, I brine the eggplant first, which helps capture some of its extra moisture and delivers a extra tender cease product when sautéing. I figured I’d take a look at out the an identical methodology for my caponata recipe, however it undoubtedly ended up proving to be unnecessary; For caponata, the eggplant pieces are nick sufficiently miniature that their increased surface position helps them cook down mighty faster than greater wedges or slices of eggplant could perchance perchance.

Here’s factual recordsdata for you: It makes the dish incredibly straightforward. I beginning by sautéing eggplant in extra-virgin olive oil heated in a cast-iron or non-stick skillet. As rapidly as it’s largely softened and smartly browned, I push it to the aspect of the skillet, add extra oil, then tumble in some scallions (I capture their completed texture over that of chopped onions), bell peppers, celery, and thinly sliced garlic, sautéing them and tossing them along with the eggplant till tenderized.

Some recipes counsel adding uncooked pine nuts on to the skillet, toasting them thru contact with the underside of the hot pan. I get that you recover flavor and toasting by performing the act individually. I toast my pine nuts within the microwave to flee up the strategy.

Now it’s time to beginning layering on the quite a lot of flavors: Chopped mint and parsley lunge into the pan (I moreover reserve some for sprinkling on high later), along with cinnamon, capers, and raisins. (I form no longer dig the cocoa powder that some recipes name for.) Even supposing caponata is emphatically no longer a tomato sauce, a dollop of tomato paste provides richness and thickens up the sauce that binds the general ingredient together.

Severe Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt.

Indirectly, we add the candy and sour formula: sugar and vinegar. Some of us remark straight up purple wine vinegar, which is doubtlessly extra worthy. I capture to make remark of a combine of purple wine and balsamic vinegar for its milder tang and woody aromas. (I’m talking the no longer-too-costly balsamic you combine into vinaigrettes, no longer the extra-esteem stuff you drizzle on grilled meat.) Season your caponata with salt and pepper, dump it onto a plate, drizzle with extra olive oil (that you must perchance perchance maybe no longer ever set too mighty olive oil into a Sicilian dish), garnish with some mint and parsley, and which you can moreover possess bought your self a moderately darn factual excuse to depart that canned pesto or antipasti sitting on the grocery store shelf.

Now, if easiest we’d determine how to get that good TV level to made with correct Half-hour and a skillet and we’d be all position.

February 2015

  • 1 cup pine nuts

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving

  • 1 miniature globe eggplant (about 1 pound), nick into 3/4-inch dice

  • Kosher salt and freshly floor unlit pepper

  • 4 scallions, white formula easiest, sliced into 1/4-inch segments

  • 1 rib celery, finely diced

  • 1 purple bell pepper, nick into 1/2-inch dice

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons minced unusual mint leaves, plus extra for garnish

  • 2 tablespoons minced unusual parsley leaves, plus extra for garnish

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1/2 teaspoon floor cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons purple wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  1. Toss pine nuts with 1 teaspoon olive oil and switch to a immense plate. Toast by microwaving on excessive energy for 2 minutes. Continue microwaving at 30 2d intervals till golden brown and nutty, 3 to 8 minutes total. Alternatively, toast in a toaster oven position at 375°F (190°C) till golden brown and nutty, about Quarter-hour. Attach apart.

  2. Warmth 4 tablespoons oil in a immense non-stick or cast-iron skillet over excessive warmth till shimmering. Add eggplant and cook, tossing every so continually, till entirely softened and browned in spots (eggplant will in the beginning take in all of the oil then slowly beginning some of it), about 6 minutes.

  3. Push eggplant to the aspect of the skillet and add 2 extra tablespoons oil to the heart. Add scallions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and toss to mix with the eggplant. Cook dinner, stirring and tossing continually, till greens are softened and aromatic, about 3 minutes longer.

  4. Add reserved pine nuts, mint, parsley, tomato paste, floor cinnamon, raisins, capers, sugar, purple wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar and toss to mix. Drizzle in remaining olive oil and bring to a simmer, adding water a tablespoon at a time as valuable till caponata has a sauce-like consistency that’s free, however doesn’t flee freely over a plate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  5. Let combination frosty to room temperature or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to per week. Support at room temperature garnished with extra mint leaves and a drizzle of olive oil if desired. Support with toasted bread or pasta.

Particular Instruments

Monumental skillet

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