Eggplant Extravaganza at Sac Natural Foods Co-Op

Martina is in the kitchen with Lucia Oliverio from Sac Natural Foods Co-Op.

Lucia is teaching an upcoming class on August 14 called Eggplant Extravaganza that will cover more delicious ways to use this summertime gift! Registration and information is here.

 Caponata (Eggplant and Crostini)

2 Small Eggplants
2 tablespoon Salt
1/3-Cup Olive Oil plus 2 or 3 tablespoons
2 Small Onions, Chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Stalks Of Celery, Chopped
1 (14 oz. can) Peeled Tomatoes (with their juice), chopped
1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Baguette bread for serving

1.     Peel the eggplants, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place in a colander, sprinkle with the salt and set aside for 30 minutes.
2.     In a large frying pan, place a few tablespoons of the olive oil, heat the oil till it’s hot and add the onions, and cook until soft.
3.     Add the celery and garlic, and cook 5 minutes.
4.     Add the chopped tomatoes with their juices and cook an additional 10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick.
5.     Rinse the salt from the eggplant and pat dry.
6.     In a separate frying pan, place the 1/3-cup olive oil, heat until hot and add the diced eggplant.
7.     Cook until the eggplant is tender and turning golden brown.
8.     Add the eggplant to the tomato mixture with the rest of the ingredients, and cook over a low flame for 15 minutes, remove from heat and let come to room temperature before serving.
9.     Season now to taste, if necessary.
10. When ready to serve, place the Caponata in a bowl and have slices of baguette bread around the plate with which to spread it on.

Note:
You can also add green or black olives, capers or red bell peppers (chop and added just before you add the eggplant to the pan).
By substituting balsamic vinegar for the lemon juice you can get a richer, heartier flavor.
I like to serve the Caponata in a hollowed out shiny eggplant, surrounded by slices of baguette bread.