October 31, 2010

Just in time

I blinked and October all but disappeared. It came in one colorful burst of activity leaving as abruptly as it entered. Starting tomorrow it’s going to be November and I’m so not ready for it to be November.   Although the fact that my freezer is filled to capacity with roasted tomatoes, hot pepper paste, pesto, applesauce and eggplant caponata suggests that perhaps I’m more prepared for grey November skies than I thought. Knowing that I can now conjure the aromas of a warm September afternoon by simply defrosting some pesto makes the whirlwind that was October ever so worth it. Still, the final push to get these lovely tastes of early autumn frozen in time has left me feeling breathless and even a bit dazed.

I’m particularly excited about the eggplant caponata. Tangy with a slight sweetness, pungent and just a little crunchy this is one dish that leaves your taste buds singing. I’ve never met an eggplant that I didn’t want to take home to turn into something special.

It is surprising then, that a few weeks ago was the first I had heard of Great Grandma Tocco’s eggplant caponata. But hear about it I did, (from my mother who made it without me!) and I raced to find a couple of eggplants that hadn’t yet been exposed to the cold New England frost. 

I made it just in time to bid a cheerful farewell to October has she made her hasty exit.

Sicilian Eggplant Caponata
Adopted from Mamma Mia Italian Cookbook: The Home Book of Italian Cooking

2 large eggplants, cubed
1 TBLS salt
¾ cup good quality olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 can plum tomatoes, drained
A generous ½ cup green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, diced
¼ cup capers
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 TBLS sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Cube your eggplant, salt it and let stand for 2 hours. Squeeze dry with a towel.

Heat your oil and sautee the eggplant until golden brown. Remove from pot with slotted spoon.

Add onions to the oil and let soften for about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, olives and celery and sauté for another 15 minutes.

Return eggplant to the pot and add the capers.

In a separate pot heat the vinegar, add the sugar and let it dissolve.

Pour the warm vinegar over the eggplant and vegetables, cover and cook slowly for 20 minutes over medium heat.

Serve warm with a crusty loaf of bread.

1 comment:

  1. I have just finished making this. It is amazing. Just delicious. I can't wait to come home tomorrow, sit by the fire and enjoy this!