California Caponata Recipe

  Italian Appetizer

1 medium eggplant
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 pound Point Reyes Original Blue, Gorgonzola dolcelatte, or other creamy blue cheese, cut into small pieces

Thinly sliced French or sourdough bread warmed or toasted for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and prick in several spots. Bake for 50 minutes, or until very tender. Remove from the oven. Let cool, then peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
2. While the eggplant is baking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until nicely browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and continue cooking until the onions are nicely glazed, about 5 minutes longer. Continue cooking the onions, adding the water a tablespoonful at a time as the liquid evaporates to keep them moist and prevent burning, until very soft, about 30 minutes longer.
3. Add the eggplant and the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar to the onions. Add the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Gently cook over medium heat until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cheese to the eggplant mixture and cook briefly, just until the cheese is melted and distributed. Spoon the mixture into a 2-cup crock and serve immediately, with the bread.
Can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and then reheat gently before serving. SERVES 4 TO 6
Caponata, the popular Sicilian appetizer, is often served at room temperature on toasted croutons. Traditionally it includes tomatoes, eggplant, onions, and capers to produce a pronounced sweet-and-sour taste. In this California version there's no tomato; roasted eggplant is paired with sweet onion and California blue cheese or pungent Italian Gorgonzola to become a fragrant, warm spread for crisp toasts or warm French bread.

California Caponata

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