I get bored easily. That's why a table full of appetizers, or small plate dining, or Tapas is my idea of a fun meal. Just about the time I'm full of one taste, there is another to try. Love it! (Fig & Eggplant Capponata with a Bite)I make a lot of appetizers for catering parties AND in my home life. When I find a great dip/spread/tapanade/capponata/topping that also freezes well for serving later, I just have to share it with you guys.
Capponata is usually an eggplant dish, often served with fish. As with a lot of appetizers, we have adapted and generalized beautiful names like "capponata/caponata". Now, it often means anything with eggplant or aubergines. Tapanade is made with olives, but often you will find recipes using this word for any topping that is tangy or contains olive seasoning. I'm loving the figs this year and they seem to be hanging around a little longer, and I'm always looking for more ways to incorporate eggplant. Funny, but I used to think I hated eggplant. If you're that way, too - you may like this capponata, anyway. The figs balance out the earthy roasted eggplant flavor with just the right amount of sweet. Then, just as you think you know what it all tastes like, a little spicy hot rises up to surprise you. The pine nuts add a little needed crunch to the spreadable topping, the lemon juice adds a tiny tart tingle and served on a petite salted cracker completes the full circle for your taste buds. When I make this, I serve half for now and freeze half in a tub for later. It reheats well without a loss of flavors.
I hope your summer has lingering good things happening for you. Why not call up a few friends, invite them over on a weekend afternoon and set out a table of appetizers (like this Fig & Eggplant Capponata) to nibble on while you catch up?
RECIPE: Fig & Eggplant Capponata with a Bite~
1/4 onion minced
2 garlic cloves minced
6-8 fresh figs chopped (use dried figs* if out of season)
Juice from 1 lemon
3 Tbls. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbls. brown sugar
pinch of salt
4 Tbls of pine nuts (toasted)
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish and fresh finish
1) Slice the eggplant in half, drizzle with olive oil and roast in 350F oven (cut side down) for about 20-25 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and cool to the touch. Cut into small cubes.
2) In a skillet drizzled with olive oil, add the onions and garlic - cook on med. heat until tender (about 5 mins). Add the figs, vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt and red pepper flakes. *(If using dried figs, add 1 cup of water.) Cook on Med, stirring til tender (about 5 - 8 minutes), then add eggplant and continue cooking/stirring for about 10 minutes. If the capponata gets too dry, add a little water.
3) Remove from the heat and stir in the toasted pine nuts and garnish with parsley.