I've been counting down the days until I could make a real ratatouille. Though I've found a great recipe, success is almost purely based on the ripeness of the ingredients, and tomatoes only just started to have any real flavor in the Midwest. But I came across this eggplant caponata from Blue Kitchen. It's essentially an Italian variation of ratatouille, but with briny capers and golden raisins to give it a little kick.
The difference with this variation of caponata is the attention to detail. The trick? Treat everything as gently as possible. So, the eggplant cubes are cooked until browned on all sides and tender, but not until they turn to mush. Same deal with the tomatoes, which are just cooked quickly for two minutes. The result is a vibrant and colorful spread that's great with bread, pita, or simply by itself.
- Yield:2 to 3 people
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1 large eggplant, stem removed, and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of canola oil
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup diced and seeded tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
Place the raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside.
Pour 1/4 cup of the canola oil into a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the eggplant cubes. Arrange in a single layer and cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into the skillet and turn the heat to medium. Toss in the red onion, and cook until soft, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 45 seconds. Then add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Return the eggplant to the skillet. Add the vinegar, raisins, and capers. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finally, stir in the parsley. Let it cool slightly before serving.