Mario's dish is so good, it just might change the minds of even the biggest eggplant haters of them all.
ingredients
ingredients
method
step-by-step directions

Eggplant Caponata

  • Eggplant Caponata
  • 1/2 cup Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Spanish Onion, chopped in 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 ribs Celery, 1/2-inch diced
  • 3 tablespoons Pine Nuts
  • 3 tablespoons Currants
  • 1 tablespoon Hot chili flakes, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 medium Eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (yields 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup Basic tomato sauce (recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 5 sprigs Mint, chopped
  • 2 Zucchini Blossoms, chiffonade, if available
  • 1 Baguette, sliced into 3/4-inch rounds & toasted on grill or in oven
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Spanish Onion, 1/4 inch diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons Fresh Thyme leaves, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 medium Carrot, finely grated
  • Two 28 ounce cans peeled Whole Tomatoes, crushed by hand & juices reserved
  • Salt
step-by-step directions
  • For the Eggplant Caponata:
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the Onions, Celery, Pine Nuts, Currants, and Chile Flakes. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes, and then add the Eggplant, Sugar, Cinnamon, and Cocoa. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the Thyme, Tomato Sauce, and Red Wine Vinegar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, cooking until it comes together, just under 5 minutes. Allow Caponata to cool completely and serve with Crostini. Garnish with Mint and Zucchini Blossoms if available.
  • For the Tomato Sauce:
  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the Olive Oil, and once hot, add the Onion and Garlic, cooking until golden brown.
  • Add the Thyme, Carrot, and cook until the Carrot is very soft, and then add the Tomatoes and all of their juice. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with Salt.
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