I’ve found that through my years in the kitchen, that eggplant is an ingredient that people either love or hate. Growing up in a Lebanese and French household I love eggplant. I think that the reason many people dislike it is that they haven’t had it cooked well. Most people try it in eggplant parmesan, where the eggplant is probably overcooked, possibly greasy and the texture is all wrong. I’ve discovered the secret to luring the eggplant haters of the world into the light is to make dishes where eggplant isn’t the dominant ingredient. This is a perfect example of that type of recipe. Don’t let the name of the recipe fool you, yes there is eggplant, but there are so many flavors going on here that you won’t even know you’re eating eggplant.
What exactly is caponata??? Caponata originated in Sicily, think of it as a sweet and sour version of ratatouille, basically, it’s a cooked vegetable salad. You can eat it hot, warm, room temperature, it’s perfect for what we will do with it, which is to put it on toast. Now don’t let the number of ingredients stop you from making this recipe. Most of the ingredients are just herbs, and trust me, once you make this dish, you’ll want to continue making it all summer long
Now, what is burrata??? Burrata is cheese, it’s like mozzarella but it’s not as firm. It’s creamy, spreadable and delicious. It pairs perfectly with this recipe because you can slather it all over the toast points, and top it with the eggplant caponata and let me tell you, you’ll be eating pretty my friend.
- 2 Tbsp. pine nuts
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1lb. globe eggplant, diced
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded and diced
- ½ of a medium red onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp. golden raisins
- 2 tsp. pomegranate molasses
- ¼ cup Pomodoro sauce or basic marinara sauce
- 2 whole salt-packed anchovies, halved length-wise, boned, rinsed and diced
- 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp. rough chopped arugula
- 2 Tbsp. rough chopped mint
- 2 Tbsp. rough chopped basil
- 2 Tbsp. rough chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
- 4 slices of day old baguette. Each slice should be 6” in length and 1” thick
- 8oz. of burrata cheese (if you can’t find burrata use fresh mozzarella)
- In a small dry sauté pan, toast the pine nuts over medium heat, until golden and fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from pan and let cool
- In a large nonstick sauté pan, heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, over medium heat. Add the eggplant in batches to not over crowd the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook until golden and soft, remove the eggplant to a large bowl and set aside.
- In the same pan heat 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil and add the red onion, cook until soft about 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper, golden raisins, cook for 1 minute. Add in the molasses and Pomodoro sauce, heat until the mixture is at a simmer. Pour sauce mixture over the eggplant, stir in the anchovies, red wine vinegar, garlic, red pepper flake, arugula, mint, basil, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, cover mixture and allow to sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours before using, or you can cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Toast baguette on a grill over medium heat, or in the oven on the broiler setting until slightly charred and golden. Smear burrata over each slice of the bread and top with the eggplant mixture.
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