During the summer months, I often find myself perfectly happy with a spread of sides of dinner–cheeses, olives, crackers, sliced meats, and most recently–marinated eggplant. Having never been one to have a jar of capers in my house, this dish has made me a believer in the caper. Eggplant is the sort of vegetable that I can never get enough of and as such, I have hard time saying this recipe serves 2+ when I could easily eat a big bowlful of it all by myself (and have done so).
For the past couple of years, I’ve made broiled eggplant, which I would dress with olive oil, parsley and garlic. I would stuff it into pitas by itself or with some mozzarella, or just eat it straight off of the baking sheet. When cooked right, the tender eggplant meat is perfect eaten whole, or processed into a ‘caviar’ of sorts. But this spring, I ate the most delicious eggplant dish at a friend’s house–it was that same tender, broiled eggplant, only it was marinated in a dressing of red wine vinegar, olive oil, capers and mint. The flavor combination was a slam dunk. Since I first tried it, I’ve been making it over and over–most recently, swapping in parsley for the mint. If you don’t happen to have capers (or don’t particularly like them), you’re open to taking them out of this recipe entirely.
The best part about this perfect-for-a-summer-picnic/dinner party recipe is that it’s so flexible. More, you can make a big batch and throw it into the fridge overnight. Everything comes together in less than 45 minutes. It also pairs great with a glass of white wine on a particularly warm summer day.
adapted from a recipe in Smitten Kitchen
*serves two with…maybe some leftovers (depending on how much you like eggplant)
3-4 small Italian eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of fresh chopped mint or parsley
2 tablespoons of capers
1. Preheat your oven’s broiler.
2. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the eggplant slices over the foil. Generously brush the slices with olive oil.
3. Broil the eggplant for about 10 minutes (or until the pieces are slightly browned, but not burned). Use a spatula to fold the pieces into a medium-sized bowl.
4. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, capers, salt and pepper (to taste), and mint or parsley.
5. Pour the mixture over the warm eggplant and toss well. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Let marinade for about 20 minutes, or overnight and serve at room temperature.
Musical Pairings: Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Blood & Chocolate + Marinated Eggplant
Eggplant is such a versatile vegetable (or fruit, depending on your outlook). It has a spongy texture and subtle taste that will absorb the flavors of whatever you prepare it with. It is used in numerous cultural cuisines, and tastes good however you prepare it: you can saute it, bake it, grill it or fry it. This particular recipe, made with the red wine vinegar, is slightly tangy, creamy and refreshing. The versatility of the eggplant itself, along with the red wine marinade that Kasey used for this particular recipe make Elvis Costello’s Blood & Chocolate a perfect pairing for this dish. As an extremely versatile musician, Costello’s discography draws from and incorporates a wide array of musical genres such as new-wave, country, bluegrass, classic rock n’ roll, and punk rock. The red wine vinegar marinade for this recipe is a good analogy for Blood & Chocolate, which reflects an almost acidic, sour romanticism that Costello has defined so well throughout his career. Head over to Musical Pairings‘s home for the rest of the review. –Matthew