Is that an eggplant, or are you just happy to see me?
I thought I was buying into an organic CSA share. But when I received this X-rated eggplant in last week's package, I wondered if farmer Bud was using Viagra as fertilizer.
I thought long and hard about what I would make with this erotic purple aubergine. I finally decided on Caponata. Why? Because back in the day, sailors who were going away for long periods of time always packed a supply of caponata for sustenance. The vinegar prevented the veggie relish from going bad too quickly, and the vitamin C kept scurvy at bay. I always thought that was quite resourceful, and I daresay – manly.
I like caponata as a side dish served with crusty bread, over brown rice or quinoa, or even tossed with pasta. This tastes best if you let it sit overnight and allow the flavors to meld before serving. Incidentally, I was very disappointed with the ho-hum, G-rated eggplant that arrived in this week's CSA share.
- 4 T olive oil
- 1 large, sweet onion, chopped finely
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red pepper, chopped finely
- 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 2 T capers, rinsed
- 4 T raisins
- 1/2 cup green olives, chopped [You can use the kind with pimentos, if you like]
- 1/4 c applesauce [unsweetened]
- 1 large eggplant, sliced and diced into 1/4 inch pieces*
- 6 T cup white vinegar
- 1 T sugar or agave nectar
- 2 T dried parsely
- Salt and pepper to taste
* Before dicing, cut the eggplant into 1/4 slices, sprinkle generously with salt and let sit in a colander for at least 30 minutes, Rinse off the bitter bile, pat dry, and then dice.
In a large, high-sided pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, celery, garlic, and saute until translucent. Add pepper and cook for 5 more minutes, then add capers, raisins, olives and applesauce. Saute for 5 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil, turn heat down to low -- just above a simmer, cover and cook for about 45 minutes or until all veggies are soft, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and cook for up to 15 more minutes to cook off any excess liquid.