Sep 26 2011
At the risk of sounding like a total fangirl, I find that every-other recipe I star in my Google Reader is from the blog Smells Like Home. Tara’s photos are so lovely and her food always looks delicious and approachable. This recipe is one of her most recent that I’ve starred because it makes great use of late-summer/early-fall eggplants and was adapted from America’s sweetheart of locavores, Alice Waters. The combination of ingredients that capture the late summer harvest like eggplants, tomatoes and celery together with the stew-like consistency that recalls autumn comfort food makes this terrific for the transition season.
- 2 small (or 1 medium) eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup celery, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 cup prepared tomato sauce (I used a sauce I canned, Alice Waters’ recipe for simple tomato sauce appears on the Smells Like Home post)
- 1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 tsp anchovy paste
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
Place eggplant in a large colander and sprinkle about a tbsp of salt over all of the eggplant, tossing to evenly distribute the salt. Allow the eggplant to drain for 15-20 minutes. Once the eggplant has drained, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the eggplant and sauté until golden on all sides (it might get a little mushy, that’s ok). Remove the eggplant from the pot and set aside. In the same pot, warm 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté celery for 5 minutes. Add in the onions and cook the onions and celery until they are translucent and soft, about 7-10 minutes, adding a little more oil if needed. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the tomato sauce; cook for 7 minutes. Stir in the eggplant and celery and add the capers, anchovy paste, vinegar, and sugar. Cook for 10-15 more minutes until the mixture is a thick stew-like consistency. Check for flavor, adding more salt, vinegar, or sugar as needed. Serve hot or at room temperature with crusty bread.
Greg found a delicious roasted garlic ciabatta loaf to serve this caponata over and talk about an amazing flavor profile–we felt very Italian with our rustic bread and eggplant stew. The anchovy paste, capers and red wine vinegar give the sauce a way different flavor than it would have on its own. And the texture is almost creamy with how soft the eggplants get.
Consider this certification that Tara’s blog is not just a bunch of pretty pictures–the recipes are pretty awesome as well. Ok, maybe I am a total fangirl.