You must try the Sicilian Caponata, every guide book told me. It is the flavor of Sicily, they said. I did. I tried many varieties of the quintessential eggplant dish, and all were delicious. Generally, the dish involves eggplant, although my research has shown that it is the sweet and sour dressing of vegetables, not the eggplant that make a dish a caponata. But let’s be honest, most of the time it is an Eggplant Caponata!
All versions of burnt eggplant are delicious, I am obsessed! I like to roast mine directly over the flame of my stove for that perfect smoky flavor. If you don’t have a gas stove burner, try slicing yours in half and roasting them under the broiler.
I originally created this recipe for our Jerusalem Dinner last year (find all of our Jerusalem recipes in Chez Nous: Communal Dinners). We originally served it with a buttery Malawach – a combination of flaky croissant and soft naan and paired it with a Tabboueleh and a homemade Hummus with a Lemon Parsley Sauce. I brought the recipe back for the book launch of my first cookbook Chez Nous: Communal Dinners this past Saturday. To make my life easier, we served it with some Buttered Naan which is incredibly easy to make.
Eggplant is so tempting this time of year! I think I will try to grow some next summer! In the mean time, however, I keep buying it every weekend, so we have to keep cooking it. This week, I also wanted to make a bit of mozzarella and some pesto since my basil plant is getting pretty hefty.
Want to make your own pesto? I like a combination of arugula and basil for mine. I take about 4 cups of basil leaves and arugula leaves each, a half a cup of pine nuts, a cup of grated Parmesan, 4-6 garlic cloves, and enough olive oil to get to the consistency you like. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and adjust to your tastes.
I will be honest, my Ratatouille looks the way it does because I watched that Disney movie when I was younger. I was in college then and working on making my cuisine more elevated, and I wanted to give it a try. I fell in love with the dish and have been developing it slowly since then. Instead of using tomatoes, I like to use tomato paste at the bottom of my baking dish. I find it imparts a nice smoky flavor to the dish and makes it less soupy. Serve it alone, or with a tablespoon of chèvre on top. I like to use leftovers for open faced sandwiches. Ratatouille keeps and reheats very well.
I was thrilled to find that my garden was gloriously producing dozens of tomatoes, so it was time to harvest them! I was missing my caprese salads in Hawaii (well not too much, since I was feasting on poke and fresh mango daily). I decided to add a bit more intricacy to the dish by roasting up some eggplant to make a bed for the sliced tomatoes and torn mozzarella. I marinated them in a bit of salt and pepper while the eggplant roasted, and drizzled the whole situation with a simple lemon herb vinaigrette. It was glorious. I am sure this portion was meant for at least four people, but Nico and I almost ate the entire dish!
The day of my Moroccan feast has finally arrived! As always, I serve three courses and I wanted my first course to be a traditional Moroccan salad course. For this salad course, I created 7 salads full of beautiful colors and flavors. Generally, for a group of 10, at least a dozen little salads are…