Vegetable

Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant Caponata epitomizes summer. The eggplant sops up the olive oil so use a good one. The dish is layered and made rich with salty and sweet notes. It's perfect served at room temperature as an appetizer but also delicious on burgers, over grilled meats and chicken, or layered in a sandwhich. Makes about 3-4 cups

Eggplant Caponata epitomizes summer. The eggplant sops up the olive oil so use a good one. The dish is layered and made rich with salty and sweet notes. It's perfect served at room temperature as an appetizer but also delicious on burgers, over grilled meats and chicken, or layered in a sandwhich. Makes about 3-4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup good quality, extra virgin olive oil, possibly more

  • 2 Lbs eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 3 Tbls tomato paste, thinned in ¼ cup water

  • 1 cup crushed canned tomatoes

  • 6 oz. green olives, sliced or roughly chopped (stuffed olives are good too)

  • ½ cup white wine vinegar

  • ½ cup golden raisins

  • ¼ cup capers

  • 2 to 3 Tbls sugar or to taste

  • 2 Tbls finely grated unsweetened chocolate

  • ½ cup basil, sliced thinly

  • 2 to 4 Tbls pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.

To Make:

  1. Heat one third of the oil and add one third of the eggplant. Fry, tossing occasionally, until browned, 3–4 minutes.

  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggplant to a large bowl; set aside.

  3. Finish the remaining eggplant in two batches using more oil if needed. Don’t be afraid to allow the eggplant to absorb the oil, it will add to the dish!

  4. Lightly salt the eggplant to taste.

  5. Reduce heat to medium and add oil if needed to the pan and sauté the onions until slightly caramelized. A pinch of sugar can help the process.

  6. Add the tomato paste - water mixture and cook, stirring, until caramelized and almost evaporated, 1–2 minutes.

  7. Add the crushed tomatoes and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes.

  8. Stir in olives, vinegar, raisins, capers, sugar, and chocolate, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.

  9. Transfer to the bowl with the eggplant. Cool.

  10. Add the basil and pine nuts and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Carrots with Sumac & Pomegranate Molasses

Carrots pair perfectly with the tang of sumac and the sweetness of pomegranate syrup. Use rainbow carrots for a psychedelic blast of color.

Serves 2-4

  • 2 bunches carrots, peeled and left whole or cut into thick pieces
  •  2 to 3 tsp. good olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sumac* or to taste
  • 2 tsp. pomegranate molasses
  • sea salt to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 450˚F

If you are using the oven anyway: 

Line a cooke sheet with parchment paper. Add the carrot and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil to coat/ Roast until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the thickness of the carrots.

In a small bowl, blend the molasses, sumac and one teaspoon olive oil. When the carrots are done, drizzle them with half of the syrup mixture and a dash of salt and toss using the parchment as a cradle, rolling the carrots back and forth. Place the carrots on a serving platter and drizzle with the remaining syrup mixture.

If you aren’t using your oven and need a faster option:

Boil the carrots in a pot of salted water until they are crisp tender and not all the way done, about 4 to 8 minutes. Drain and place on the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Pat dry with paper towel and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil to coat/ Roast until tender, about 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the carrots.

In a small bowl, blend the molasses, sumac and one teaspoon olive oil. When the carrots are done, drizzle them with half of the syrup mixture and a dash of salt and toss using the parchment as a cradle, rolling the carrots back and forth. Place the carrots on a serving platter and drizzle with the remaining syrup mixture.

*Sumac is a powdered berry native to the Middle East and found in Mediterranean markets.

 

Salted Summer Squash Salad with Olive Oil & Hazelnuts

Salted Summer Squash Salad with Olive Oil & Hazelnuts

  • 1 small summer squash per person (zucchini, crookneck or patty pan)
  • sea salt
  • EVOO
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbls. toasted, skinned and chopped *hazelnuts per person

Remove the ends and coarsely grate or julienne the squash. Place in a bowl and toss liberally with salt. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the nuts just until lightly colored and set aside. After the 20 minutes, rinse the zucchini really well. Taste it to make sure it is not salty, if it is, rinse again. 

The squash absorbs quite a bit of water. Take handfuls and squeeze out as much liquid as possible and place in a dry bowl. Or, place the squash in a clean, dry tea towel and twist the towel squeezing out the water.

Drain the olive oil used to sauté the nuts over the squash and toss adding more olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle with nuts and serve.

*Sliced or slivered almonds are also nice.