It’s cold, windy, foggy and drizzly here in Marin. This morning I loafed around my house till 11 and then decided to take the ferry in to San Francisco and have lunch and snap up whatever produce I could before the farmers packed it in and headed for home.
Just like at a flea market or estate sale, normally it is a good idea to arrive at the farmer’s market as early as you can. The early bird gets the worm or something like that. It is a good idea, but let me tell you, unless you are a chef people, getting to the SF Farmer’s market at the Ferry Plaza is probably ok at any time. The wide variety of things on offer, from the weirdest pepper you have ever seen to designer eggs that range almost every color of the rainbow, is thrilling and astounding. It’s almost better to get there later because the crowds die down at the end of the day.
So I got there late. No worries. After a quick lunch at Mijita (thank you Tracy Des Jardines!!!!!) I felt energized and ready to go.
Gorgeous Tomatoes, baby eggplants,wonderful cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery, fresh basil, thyme, oregano,italian parsley, cherries, bread and on and on…
When I got home I thought immediately of Caponata. My sister recently made it for me when I visited her in Nashville. She and her husband have an amazing garden and they had a bumper crop of eggplant this year. Her Caponata was so good I was actually trying to sneak it when no one was looking because I felt like such a pig for eating and eating it.
The great thing about Caponata is, it is so versatile. If you have zucchini, throw them in there, if you want to add some veggie that’s not in the recipe go ahead. It just gets better and better as it melds in the fridge. I made mine tonight and will probably eat it in a day or two, after it has a chance to settle and marry the flavors.
You can serve it with crusty bread (that’s what I like!)
On Sandwiches, in soups, on meat…whatever. Be creative. The possibilities are endless.
I asked my sis for her recipe and am sharing it with you. I changed it just a bit because I did not have red onions but only Vidalias so I used those. I did not have red pepper flakes but had dried ancho chilies which I chopped and added. I added a good amount of basil. I also drizzled a liberal amount of olive oil over the caponata at the end. I am storing it and going to wait a day or 2 before I enjoy it.
Here is my sister’s recipe:
1 medium eggplant, cut in rounds
1 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
4 plum tomatoes, cut in rounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat your grill to high. Brush the eggplant, onion slices and tomatoes with olive oil and season each type of vegetable with salt and pepper, to taste.
Grill the eggplant for 6 to 8 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through. Grill the onions for 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden brown and just cooked through. Grill the tomatoes for 2 minutes per side until charred and slightly soft. Remove to a cutting board and cut into quarters.
Remove the vegetables from the grill to a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer the vegetables to a medium bowl and add the olives, capers, raisins and pine nuts.
Mix together the garlic, red pepper flakes, vinegar and honey in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil and whisk until emulsified.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables, add the parsley and stir gently to combine. Let the salad sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving.