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Brinjal — your vegetable for the day

india Updated: Jul 24, 2010 23:59 IST
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Caponata

Caponata is a sweet-and-sour Sicilian version of ratatouille and makes a great topping for bruschetta.

1/2-kg eggplant (1 large), roasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
Salt to taste
1/2-kg tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 heaped tablespoons capers, rinsed
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted green olives
2 tablespoons sugar, plus a pinch
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Roast the eggplant, then allow to cool. Chop coarsely.

2. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a nonstick skillet and fry onions for five minutes, and add the garlic. Cook for a minute, until the garlic begins to smell fragrant, and add the peppers and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir until just tender, about eight minutes. Add another tablespoon of oil and the eggplant, and stir for five minutes. Season to taste.

3. Add the tomatoes to the pan with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar. Cook for five to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked. Add the capers, olives, remaining sugar and vinegar and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat. Serve at room temperature. Yield: Serves six to eight

Grilled Eggplant Panini

Eggplant slices are ready in two or three minutes on a grill. If you don’t use bread, simply top them with tomato sauce, or chop and toss them with pasta or rice. Alternatively, drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with feta and such fresh herbs as mint, parsley, basil or marjoram.

What you need:

2 to 3-inch thick eggplant slices
Salt
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pesto (optional)
1/2 grilled red pepper or tomato
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons grated cheese, such as mozzarella, Gruyère, or Parmesan
2 thick slices country bread

How to make it:

1. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Pat dry and brush lightly with olive oil.

2. Preheat a grill and put the eggplant slices on top. Grill three minutes, until cooked through. Remove. 3. Spread a pesto on the a slice of bread. Top with a layer of eggplant slices, then a layer of pepper or tomato slices. Sprinkle with pepper. Top with the grated cheese and the other slice of bread. Brush the slices with olive oil and grill five minutes, or until toasted. Cut and serve hot. Yield: Serves one

Variations: Add sliced red onion and chopped fresh basil to the mix.
Add vinaigrette to the tomatoes. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with a pinch of red pepper flakes