The first night I made this, I meant to eat something else for dinner. Or at least, something in addition to this. But after that first, delicious eggplant-tomato-onion-garlicy bite, I was smitten. So smitten, in fact, that I spent the next hour sopping up every last bit of this recipe. (Yes, all by myself. Do you have a problem with that?)
Caponata is great on its own, but this takes it to a whole new level. I love eggplant, but it’s hard to use in recipes without losing any healthiness for the dish — it soaks up oil faster than you can add it to the pan, so it’s easy to overdo. My solution is to start the caponata with the eggplant cooking in water with garlic and onions, and add the oil only after the eggplant has cooked — enough so it cooks into the caponata (and will blend in even better if you let it sit for a day or two), without making this fresh, healthy dinner into something to feel guilty about.
Eggplants are in season here now, so they should be readily available. This recipe is, seriously, shockingly good — and I bet you can resist it about as well as I could. Or, well, couldn’t.
Eggplant Caponata Recipe
1 large onion, diced
2 medium eggplants, diced
4 large cloves of garlic
Water, as much as needed
4 plum tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 baguette, sliced and toasted
In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add the onions, garlic, eggplant and 1 cup of water on high heat, along with plenty of salt and pepper. Cook until the eggplant has softened, adding more water when necessary so the mixture doesn’t dry out. When the eggplant has absorbed enough water to be soft and well-cooked, add the tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, along with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 10 more minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, and then serve with the toasted baguette slices.
Tags: appetizers · food
You want to know who is annoying? Me.
Because for the past five months, since roughly mid-January, every time I went into a reasonably well-stocked grocery store, I immediately asked a salesperson, “do you have fresh figs?”
The answer was inevitably, “no, it’s January/February/March/April/May. Check back in a few months.”
But now it is June. And it was 95 degrees outside for most of last week. And I am developing sore feet from walking everywhere in flip flops, and my tomato plants have little green tomatoes growing on them, and I am getting slightly tan, and it is finally really summer.
And, most importantly, now I don’t need to ask whether each and every grocer carries figs. Because I can see them, right there on the shelf, just waiting to be bought.
So I am revisiting those Fig and Goat Cheese Canapés that I posted in February. For two reasons, really. First, because those pictures were really pretty awful (I am so grateful for the 23 of you who lied through your teeth and told me they looked tasty, despite the photos). And second, because those canapés are no longer the “Best. Food. Ever.”
Because really, could figs from a jar ever beat those elusive, delicate, impossibly delicious fresh figs?
I used gorgonzola this time, as well as a drizzle of honey. These do not get any simpler, and you can probably tell how much I adore them. If you can’t, just ask any grocer in Manhattan.
Fig Canapés, Revisited
4 fresh figs
1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crubmled
1/4 cup honey
Slice baguette into 1/2″ slices and toast them lightly. Slice each fig into 4-6 slices, depending on the size of the fig. Place one fig slice on each piece of baguette, top with about 1 tbsp crumbled gorgonzola cheese. Drizzle about 1 tsp of honey over each slice. Serve.
Makes about 20 canapes.
Tags: appetizers · food
Sometimes when I post a recipe, that recipe lends itself very easily to an accompaniment. My marshmallows became marshmallow caramel bars, my chocolate fudge frosting went into the perfect party cake. So what was I going to do with Monday’s homemade pita bread? That’s right, I was going to make dip.
Actually, what really happened was that whenever anyone comes over to my apartment, I like to have something ready for them to eat. And with the pitas already made, it was relatively painless to find ingredients for an excellent little dip. The only bummer was my lack of greek-style yogurt, because it would have made the dip thicker, richer and all around better. But in a pinch, this was pretty darn good.
So how many of you have made the pitas already? Get out your food processor, because this is the perfect thing to serve with them, and it comes together in about 20 seconds flat. How could you resist?
Yogurt Dip with Pita Chips
2 homemade pitas
Olive oil and salt, for brushing
6 ounces nonfat greek yogurt (or 2/3 cup regular yogurt)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp chopped chives
Cut pitas into wedges, brush with olive oil and sprinke with salt. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about eight minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine yogurt, garlic powder, sea salt and chopped chives. Process until evenly distributed and transfer to a bowl. Surround with pita chips, and serve.
Serves 3-4 as an appetizer.
Tags: appetizers · food