This is a hybrid caponata. Using pine nuts is out, because my husband is allergic to them–like, seriously allergic. Vinegar is excluded, because I needed a dinner dish instead of a relish. But there’s eggplant, there’s red onion rings, there’s Spanish-style tomato sauce and black beans. There’s Sriracha. It’s unconventional. It’s served hot with buttery, cheesy polenta.
Actually, I hope my doctor isn’t reading this, because I’m supposed to be watching my cholesterol, which is borderline high. I blame it on those fabulous, local eggs–from pasture-raised hens–that I discovered earlier this summer. “Hello. My name is Alaiyo, and I’m an egg addict.” So long, yolks. Hello egg whites.
Today I came home without stopping by the market. Haven’t been there in over a week. Once in a while, I like to challenge myself and make a dish with whatever I have on hand in the kitchen. No doubt, like many of you. Today, we were out of brown rice, but there was a bag of fresh polenta. I had plenty of canned black beans and diced tomatoes from a trip to Costco a few weeks back.
Generally, I post recipes that I’ve tested a few times. Sometimes, though, a good dish will materialize from last-minute ideas or, more often, out of desperation or laziness. If it’s in the fridge, freezer, or pantry, it’s fair game. This hybrid Eggplant Caponata turned out well. If you try this recipe, let me know how you liked it.
Blogger’s Note: Although I joked about my recent diagnosis, high cholesterol is a serious matter. It affects one in every six adults in the United States–17%, according to the CDC. With my doctor’s counsel, I will be drastically reducing eggs in my diet. Check with your doctor and get a blood test if you have a concern about cholesterol.
Recipe: Eggplant Caponata with Cheesy Polenta (Serves 4)
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium red onion, sliced into rings
2 cans Spanish-style tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans
1/2 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha
- Place eggplant in a large bowl and add salt. Cover with a plate or with foil and “sweat” eggplant for a minimum of 20 minutes. Rinse eggplant in strainer to wash away salt. Drain eggplant and spin in a salad spinner until eggplant is no longer soaking wet but feels like a squeezed-out sponge.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions rings and saute until translucent. Add eggplant and saute for 15 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, peas, corn, and black beans.
- Add ginger, pepper, and Sriracha. Simmer caponata for 10 additional minutes.
- Boil water with salt added. Add polenta grits and stir until it begins to thicken. Add butter and cheese and stir to mix thoroughly.