Monday, May 18, 2015

Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant Caponata

This is a dish I cooked back when it was still warm outside and I wasn't eating every meal on my back deck, or on the way to a Spring sporting event.  But now that my garden is beginning to bloom, I thought it was time to share a recipe that I would be happy to make again when I have my own fresh eggplant, tomatoes and herbs to work with.  I like to think of this dish as an Italian version of  a Mexican mole because of the use of cocoa powder.  And of course anything made with chocolate is a favorite of mine!  I also like how versatile it is because not only can it be served hot over pasta, like I did here, but it is also great room temperature and would make a fantastic appetizer on crusty bread while sitting out on my deck this summer as well.  It doesn't take very long to cook, is full of intense flavor, nutritious vegetables, herbs and spices. So try something a little adventurous the next time you are entertaining and incorporate cocoa into the main meal as well as dessert!

Eggplant Caponata

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
4 stalks of organic celery, chopped
1/4 C. dried cranberries
1/4 C. pine nuts
1 T. organic raw cocoa powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. chili flakes
2 T. balsamic vinegar
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 small eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. organic tomato sauce
organic ricotta cheese, optional

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the onion, celery, cranberries and pine nuts and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the cocoa powder, cinnamon and chili flakes and cook for another minute or two.  Stir in the vinegar, fresh thyme, chopped eggplant, salt and tomato sauce and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is cooked through and tender.  Serve warm (or at room temperature) on pasta, bread or rice, topped with ricotta cheese, if desired.


dinner is served

close up view

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