One of my favorite vegetables is eggplant, especially Pantescan eggplant harvested from our garden. This year we also had loads of tomatoes, so some of them are now sun dried. They are an explosion of flavor! We eat them like candy. Now and then I use them in cooking, as in this eggplant dish.
24 oz (700 grams) of eggplant
10 pitted olives
6 sun dried tomato halves
7 oz (200 grams) mozzarella
1 cup olive oil
Salt and fresh grounded pepper
Cut the eggplant lengthwise about 4 pieces or into pieces that are a half inch (1.5 cm) thick.
Sprinkle a little salt on both sides and set aside for about 20 minutes to draw out the fluid.
Chop the olives, tomatoes, and almonds coarsely. Cut the mozzarella into small pieces.
Wipe the eggplant patties using a paper towel (so it becomes dry and excess salt disappears). Heat up a frying pan with plenty of olive oil.
Sauté the patties on both sides until golden and soft but without falling into pieces.
Pour more oil in the skillet when needed and season with black pepper.
Remove the patties and place them on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle the olives, sun dried tomatoes and almonds on top of the eggplant. Top with the mozzarella cheese and bake at 440 F (225 C) on the broiler setting for about 2-3 minutes.
Caponata is a traditional Sicilian course.
The recipes vary but should contain eggplant, celery and have a sweet and sourness. In some parts of Sicily seafood is included. The ingredients I used for this Caponata are all local products from the island of Pantelleria. Serve the Caponata as an antipasto with bread, or as a side course to go with fish or meat. The Caponata can be saved in the fridge for up to 7 days.
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) olive oil
3 aubergine, cut in large chunks
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped in bigger pieces
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalks, cut in pieces
8 large ripe tomatoes, cut in pieces and remove the seeds
2 tablespoons capers from Pantelleria (rinsed, soaked and drained)
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) of black olives (preferably sun or oven dried)
4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) of almonds (dry toasted and chopped in the pan)
5 tablespoons of tomato puree or concentrate
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
Optional:1 table spoon of fresh parsley to serve
Use a large pan pour some olive oil, and place on the heat. Add the aubergine chunks and oregano, season with a little salt and toss around so the aubergine is evenly coated by the oil. Cook on a high heat until the aubergines are golden, then add the onion, garlic and celery stalks and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Add a more oil to the pan when it’s getting dry. Throw in the drained capers, olives, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 20 minutes or until its tender. At last stir in the toasted almonds.Taste and season if you need with more salt, pepper, vinegar or sugar. Serve the Caponata room temperature sprinkled with almonds and parsley.