Dried Tomato Caponata

1 pound eggplant, cut into ¾-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, in their skins, pierced once
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 cup oven-dried tomatoes (recipe below)
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, preferably flat leaf, chopped
2 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoon raisins, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon calamata olives, or other brine-cured olive of choice, pitted and chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 pinch sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
Oven-Dried Tomatoes 
1 teaspoon olive oil
32 plum tomatoes, cored, halved and seeded
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the broiler. On a baking sheet, toss eggplant and garlic cloves with oil and salt and broil for about 4 minutes. Remove garlic and set aside to cool. Toss and stir eggplant, and continue to cook an additional 4 minutes until browned and tender. Transfer eggplant to a plate and let cool.

2. Meanwhile, chop oven-dried tomatoes coarsely and place in a medium bowl along with the pine nuts, parsley, celery, capers, raisins, olives, thyme, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, red pepper flakes if using. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simply toss for a loose mixture, or mix well to bind the mixture together. Serve spread on crusty bread

Oven-Dried Tomatoes
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise, remove seeds. Slice off visible stems if desired. On a baking sheet, toss tomatoes with oil and salt and arrange cut sides up. Place in the oven for 4 to 5 hours, or until visible moisture has evaporated and tomatoes are shriveled but still soft and pliable. Let cool and store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Equivalent Note: 32 medium plum tomatoes is approximately 4 pounds.

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