Eggplant Caponata

This traditional Tuscan relish is lovely on toasted bread.

Ingredients:
1 sweet onion or 2 Tropea onions, peeled and minced
1 eggplant, chopped into ½-inch chunks
1 sweet Italian pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, or 1 summer tomato, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly-sliced
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon capers
Sea salt and pepper
Fresh basil leaves, torn

Method:
1. Add chopped onion to a skillet with the olive oil, and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add chopped celery stalk, peppers and eggplant and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes until vegetables are tender.

2. Add golden raisins, chopped oregano and about ½ cup water. Bring mixture to a simmer, and allow water to evaporate, cooking about 8-10 minutes

3. Add cherry tomatoes and cider vinegar and capers; cook for about 5 minutes, until mixture is uniform and tomatoes are beginning to burst. Season with salt and pepper and top with torn basil.

Autumn Splendor Recipes

As we officially greet the start of fall here this week, the color-rich produce coming in from the gardens is as bright and beautiful as those first turning leaves. Featuring such favorites as Italian eggplant, broccolini, fennel and Little Gem lettuce, as well as lingering summer highlights like yellow peaches, blueberries and heirloom tomatoes, this fall-fresh lineup is also accented by pillowy focaccia bread, farm-fresh eggs, peppery edible flowers and cheery mini bouquets. Enjoy!

Here are a few recipe ideas for the week:

Roasted Ratatouille Toasts
A delightful spin on the classic stew, this time slathered on toasted bread as a starter!

Beet, Carrot & Pomegranate Salad
This colorful salad is perfect for fall and beyond.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Roasted Sweet Onions
Roasted sweet onion adds a wonderful depth of flavor to this refreshing salad.

Grilled Fennel
A wonderful side for roasted chicken or steak.

Smoky Summer Pepper & Eggplant Salsa
This smoky salsa is a wonderful boost for burgers, sausages and more.

Smoky Summer Pepper & Eggplant Salsa

This smoky salsa is a wonderful boost for burgers, sausages and more.

Ingredients:
4-6 Jimmy Nardello red peppers
1 Italian eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill

Method:
1. Roast the eggplant and the peppers directly over the flame of a gas burner, or put under a preheated broiler, turning frequently, until completely blackened and soft. Place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sweat for about 10 minutes. Then, remove and peel off all blackened skin and discard. Remove stems and seeds from the peppers and chop finely; cut stem off eggplant and chop finely.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet, add shallots and garlic, and sauté for about 3 minutes until soft. Transfer to a large bowl and add the peppers, eggplant, the oil, sugar, salt, lemon juice,  cilantro and dill, and mix well.

Roasted Ratatouille Toasts

A delightful spin on the classic stew, this time slathered on toasted bread as a starter!

Method:
1 heirloom tomato, roughly chopped
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, some sliced in half, others left whole
½ eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 zucchini or summer squash, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 sweet pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
⅓ cup olive oil
2½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 loaf rustic bread or focaccia, sliced into ½-inch-thick slices
½ cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta or fresh ricotta
½ cup basil, thinly sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large roasting pan, toss the tomatoes, eggplant, squash or zucchini, pepper, onion and garlic with red pepper flakes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned and the tomatoes have released their juices. Stir the vegetables halfway through cooking, and then toss again once they have been removed from the oven.

2. Remove the vegetables from the oven and increase the temperatures to a broil. Lightly brush each slice of bread or focaccia with olive oil. Place them on the upper rack of the oven and toast until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes.

3. Top each toast with a generous portion of the ratatouille mixture, and then add a little crumbled feta or dollop of ricotta on each. Garnish with the basil and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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