In my latest CSA box I found eggplant and celery. It seemed like the perfect time to try making caponata, an excellent dish for summertime picnics. When I first tried caponata last summer, I couldn’t imagine that I would like cold eggplant, but yum! It’ a complex blend of flavors and textures, that taste great on bread. After a little research, I decided to adapt a recipe from Mario Batali (adding celery and olives).
First, I ate the caponata on french bread, as it’s normally served. But after a long run this weekend, I decided that adding a little protein would be a great addition and used the leftovers for a fabulous post-run breakfast, with eggs and toast.
Caponata with Poached Eggs (adapted from Mario Batali)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 slender bunch of early celery, chopped
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon hot chili flakes, plus extra for garnish
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (to yield 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon
- 12 oz can diced tomatos
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 2 eggs
- sliced baguette or other crusty loaf bread
- In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, celery, pine nuts, golden raisins and chili flakes. Stir frequently, cooking until just softened, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the eggplant, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa and cook for 5 more minutes. Add herbs, tomatoes, and vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the olives.
- Set the heat to low and simmer for about 7 minutes, until it begins to thicken. and remove from heat.
- This recipe makes a generous few meals, and can be frozen for later. It can be eaten warm, but is traditionally eaten cold or room temperature. I highly recommend it with poached eggs: Set a deep pan of water to boil, once boiling, add a glug of white vinegar, if desired, and give the water a little swirl with a spoon before adding two eggs. Continue gently swirling the water until the eggs are cooked, and then remove them with a slotted spoon. Toast two slices of bread, top with caponata, and place a poached egg on each slice.