Monday, October 4, 2010

Caponata or Ratatouille or Neither?

When I realize that the local farmers' market and the CSA are winding down, I go into a "stock the root cellar" frenzy.  I purchase great quantities of fall and winter squash, sweet potatoes, beets, onions and garlic that will would keep there if I actually had one.  I do, however, have a cool and dry (most of the time) basement where I can lay these vegetables out and have them at hand all winter.

The things that won't keep in their natural state, I blanch and freeze or turn into various sauces.  This one is sort of a sauce, sort of a stew and delicious.  

With apologies to the Italians, the French and Pixar Studios, I give you caponata or ratatouille (you'll have to rent the movie on your own).

We like this on toasted bread or pasta.  It makes a delicious first course.  I had a bowl for lunch.

(end of summer stew)

l large eggplant cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbsps salt
1/4 cup olive oil
3 stalks celery cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 28 ounce can chopped plum tomatoes
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
10 green olives thinly sliced
3 ounces capers, drained and rinsed
freshly ground pepper to taste

Place the eggplant in a colander set over a large  bowl.  Sprinkle with the salt and let stand for an hour.  Drain, rinse and pat dry.

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, celery and the red and green peppers.  Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the vegetables start to give up their juices--three to five minutes.  Stir in the garlic and saute for one minute more.  

Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, olives and capers.

Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes.

This freezes well.

My lunch