Chopped Caponata

1 medium eggplant
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 tomato peeled, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup minced oil-cured olives, optional
1 teaspoon capers, optional
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the broiler. Prick the eggplant with a fork in 4 places, and place it under the broiler, 2 inches from the heat, until the skin buckles, 6 to 9 minutes. Turn it over and continue to broil until the skin buckles on the other side, 5 to 7 minutes more. If any part is still rim and smooth, turn the eggplant again so that the part in question is directly under the broiler and broil until the entire eggplant has buckled, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the eggplant and let it cool.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add the shallot, onion, garlic, basil, and parsley. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.

When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, cut off the ends, peel, and remove as many of the seeds as possible. Chop the pulp coarsely and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the shallot mixture, along with the tomato, vinegar, and the olives and capers, if using. Season with salt and pepper. Chill, covered, for at least 3 hours, and serve cold.



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