Many years ago, an Italian friend of my mother's gave her this caponata recipe, and we've continued to follow these instructions for nearly two decades. This recipe goes well with so many proteins; I often serve it alongside grilled chicken, though this evening, I opted for halibut, baked in the oven with a topping of buttery, herbed panko crumbs. Here's to the weekend, and late-night, poolside dining to celebrate the lingering days of Los Angeles summer!
1/3 c. dried currants
1/2 c. yellow raisins
2 medium eggplants (about 3 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch horizontal slices
5 large onions (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch horizontal slices
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T. sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 c. chopped canned whole tomatoes in puree
l T. capers in brine
10 pitted and quartered Kalamata olives
3/4 c. balsamic vinegar
Brush the eggplant and onion slices with 1/2 cup of the oil and grill until just cooked through, flipping halfway through, once the first sides have turned golden brown. This will take several minutes longer for the onion slices.
Meanwhile, soak the currants and raisins in hot water for 5 minutes until plumped -- drain and set aside.
Coarsely chop the cooled eggplant and onion slices. In a large bowl, mix the cocoa powder with the chopped tomatoes and add the remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar and stir to blend. Add the currants, raisins, capers, Kalamata pieces, and chopped eggplant and onion, and finally toss to mix well.