So I had some deliberation on whether to use this title because caponata doesn’t mean much to most people. In fact I had a hard time remembering the term myself. But, we all need to learn new things, right?
Ordinarily, I now understand, caponata is an eggplant dish. Not having made the original version, I have nothing to compare this with. However, I can tell you that Wikipedia’s description is fairly apt, a sweet and sour vegetable dish that could be used as either a side or main. It’s pretty exciting and has interesting flavors that I would probably never think to put together on my own. Always looking for new rutabaga outlets, I came across this recipe from Saveur and I think it’s a keeper. It should end up sweet but hearty—the flavor of the rutabaga plays nicely with the array of spices.
I’ll have to try the eggplant version sometime.
On another note, I broke ANOTHER paring knife. That one in the picture, actually. It’s got a good core but part of the stone piece fell off. I’ll have to find the right adhesive material. I guess maybe I am overusing them, because my larger knife feels a little flimsy and anyway mostly I’m just cooking for me, which doesn’t generally require too much knife power. Except that apparently it does. Ah, well.
Saveur's Rutabaga Caponata 2 rutabagas Olive oil Salt and pepper 1 onion, diced A couple cloves garlic, minced 1 shallot, minced 2 tablespoons currants (I didn't have these but they'd be good) 1 tablespoon golden raisins 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (you keep them around now, right?) 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or a little cayenne if you don't have them) A small spoonful of honey 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon A dash of nutmeg A tablespoon of cocoa
Start by roasting the rutabaga. Rutabaga is friendlier than squash to chop quickly, although it does have quite a thick peel that takes a little practice. Anyway, peel (with a knife) and chop into 1/2-inch cubes. Drizzle with oil and bake in a hot oven (around 400ºF) for 30 or so minutes, turning over every once in a while, until soft but not mushy.
Chop the rest of the veggies. Heat up oil in the pan and cook the onions first, then when they begin to soften add in garlic, shallots, currants, and raisins. Then add the vinegar, and scrape the pan (deglaze) to collect anything that might have gotten stuck. Add the pine nuts and spices, going easy on the honey and cocoa until you taste it, and adjust as necessary.
I ate it with some water buffalo sausage, because I felt like, but it’s also perfectly acceptable as a main course by itself.
In other news, the just 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released a new report detailing diet suggestions for the American populace. You can read the Executive Summary if you don’t want to get into the whole thing. Basically, though, we need to be eating more vegetables, less red meat, and considerably less sugar. If you are surprised by this, I’m glad you’re here, because you have some indoctrination in store. It’s getting harder in the winter, though. Hence the rutabagas.
If you have great (read: varied) recipes for winter vegetables (turnips, cabbage, carrots, beets, potatoes), send them my way!