Summer in New Orleans means eggplant and lots of it! The abundance of it, particularly coming out of garden has forced me to find creative ways to serve it.
Don’t get me wrong, I like eggplant. I use it in various Asian dishes, grilled (used as a sandwich filling), in salads and still I have more eggplant.
Last summer, I found myself with 14 eggplant there were going to go bad if I didn’t use them pronto! I decided to make a flexible eggplant dish; one that could be used as an appetizer (caponata), over pasta or spaghetti squash, as sandwich filling or just a hot satisfying side dish. I made a huge batch and froze about three quarters of it.
Two weeks later I had so much eggplant I had to do it all over again. Since no one wants to peel 14 eggplant I took a chance and just wash them and cut them up, leaving the peel in place. The batch actually turned out a little better with the peels on, firmer and more defined. So, the good news is you don’t have to peel the eggplant.
Here is a “smaller” version of the the recipe suited for 1 large or 2 small eggplant and not 14 at a shot!
Eggplant (Sort of) Caponata
- In a large frying pan or Dutch oven
- Sauté the following ingredients
- 1/2 c. Mirapois
- 1 small diced onion
- 1/2 green pepper (bell pepper)
- Garlic to taste
- Once onions begin to clarify add fresh herbs and sauté for an additional 3-5 minutes
- 1 Tbsp Basil
- 2 Tbsp Thyme
- Oregano or Marjoram to taste about 1 Tbsp
- Add vegetables (eggplant and tomatoes)
- 1 large eggplant which has been diced into about 1-1/2 inch rectangles
- Either 3 chopped fresh tomatoes or 1 small can of diced tomatoes
- *Sometimes I add dried tomatoes particularly if I used fresh tomatoes; it punches up the flavor
- When the mixture starts to boil add
- 1 cup water
- When it start to boil again, turn to very low heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until eggplant skin is very soft. Then add:
- 2 cups (a couple of good handfuls of) fresh spinach
- 2 Tbsp capers
- 1/4 cup of cut up black (Kalamata) olives
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Turn the heat up and cook until spinach is completely wilted
Serve over pasta or rice, with French bread or refrigerate and use as an appetizer (best served at room temperature). This survives well in the freezer and is an quick and easy appetizer or snack.