Monday, June 17, 2013

Eggplant Caponata

This is a recipe serving 60 used at the Ronald McDonald House in St. Louis.  This eggplant is a very unique dish and was a tad spicy.  I would tone down the chili flakes if I prepared it again.


2 cup virgin olive oil 
2 large Spanish onion, chopped in 1/2-inch dice
3/4 cup pine nuts 
3/4 cup currants 
4 tablespoon hot chili flakes, plus extra for garnish 
8 medium eggplant 
8 tablespoons sugar 
4 teaspoon cinnamon 
4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder 
8 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 
1 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 
Salt and freshly ground pepper
20 sprigs mint, chopped 

In a large 12 to 14-inch saute pan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onions, pine nuts, currants and chili flakes and saute for 4 to 5 minutes until softened. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes (to yield 4 cups). Add the eggplant, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add the thyme, tomato sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, garnish with mint and chili flakes 

Basic tomato sauce: Yield: 1 cups 
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
1/4 Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice 
1 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced 
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves 
1/4 medium carrot, finely grated 
1 (14-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved C

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. 

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