The French can have their ratatouille, which in my opinion is often too mushy. For me, the best thing to do with eggplant is caponata – in this case, caponata tossed with a balsamic reduction that heightens its flavor profile and becomes something I crave by itself as a light lunch…and did so just now before posting this.
I found the basic recipe years ago – one that made a massive amount for a crowd – and modified it enough to make it my own. And now, thanks to the Balsamic Glaze available at TJ’s, it’s not necessary to boil down your own balsamic vinegar and sugar for the agrodolce…much easier to just use the prepared stuff for that final crucial step:
INGREDIENTS: 4-6 tbsp EVOO; 1 medium eggplant cut into 1/4″ dice, about 1 lb; 2 small zucchini quarters and then cut into 1/4″ pieces; 1 medium sweet onion chopped into 1/4″ pieces; 2 ribs celery cut into 1/4″ slices; 1 very plump garlic clove thinly sliced; 1/3 cup thinly sliced roasted rep peppers; 1/3 cup drained capers; 1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives; 1/3 cup golden raisins; S&P to taste; 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley; 2 tbsp julienned fresh basil; 1/2 tsp dried oregano; 2/3 cup marinara sauce; 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze (or make your own by reducing down 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar with 2 tbsp sugar until you have 1/4 cup)
TECHNIQUE: in a large deep skillet or electric frypan, sauté the eggplant, zucchini and celery in most of the EVOO for about 10 minutes until softened completely. Remove to a very large bowl. Add a bit more oil to the skillet and sauté the onions and garlic until softened. Add that to the others vegetables in the bowl, and then combine with the olives, capers, roasted peppers, and raisins. Add the balsamic glaze and toss to coat. Add S&P to taste, then the parsley, oregano, basil, and marinara sauce and stir to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature. The flavors truly come alive after a few hours in the fridge.