Thursday, July 22, 2010


Here's the promised eggplant recipe, from Chef Tal:

Caponata is a Sicilian dish, a sort of sweet and sour cooked vegetable salad made of eggplant, tomatoes, celery, and olives and capers. It's best as an appetizer, with some good bread, or served alongside fish or chicken as a main course. While this recipe might seem a little complicated for a simple summer salad, cooking the celery and the eggplant separately helps them each preserve their flavor, and makes a big difference to the final dish.


pounds eggplants

½ pound green olives packed in brine, pitted

6 ounces salted capers, rinsed

1¼ pounds celery ribs

2/3 pound onions

2/3 pound tomatoes

1/3 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar


3/8 cup pine nuts

Olive oil



Begin by stripping the filaments from the celery sticks. Next, blanch them in lightly salted boiling water for five minutes. Drain the celery, cut it into bite-size pieces, sauté them in about a tablespoon of olive oil, and set them aside.

Wash the eggplants, dice them, put the pieces in a strainer, sprinkle them liberally with salt, and let them sit for several hours to draw out the bitter juices. While they're sitting, blanch, peel, seed and chop the tomatoes.

After a few hours, rinse the eggplant to wash away the salt and pat the pieces dry. Finely slice the onions and sauté them in olive oil; once they have turned translucent, add the capers, pine nuts, olives, and tomatoes. Continue cooking, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the tomatoes are done, about 15 minutes, and then remove the pot from the fire.

Next, heat a second pot of oil and fry the diced eggplant (do this in several batches to keep the oil from getting chilled.) When the last batch is done, return the tomato pot to the fire and stir in the eggplant together with the previously sautéed celery. Cook for several minutes over a low flame, stirring gently, then stir in the vinegar and the sugar; when the vinegar has almost completely evaporated remove the pot from the fire and let it cool.

Serve the caponata cold with a garnish of fresh basil. There will be a lot, but don't worry, because it keeps for several days in the fridge.

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