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What To Do With Eggplant: Eggplant Caponata

There are those who hate eggplant. I don't understand those people. After all, there's so much that you can do with it:
Last week, I decided to try something new: Eggplant Caponata. The recipe I used as a template included pine nuts, golden raisins, cinnamon and cocoa powder as the flavoring agents, and I must admit I was somewhat hesitant about how the combination of these ingredients would taste. Still, I decided to give it a try because it was a recipe Sassy Radish adapted from Mario Batali and both of these people seem credible enough to me ;)
What To Do With Eggplant: Eggplant Caponata
Adapted from Sassy Radish who adapted it from Mario Batali

olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
6 tablespoons pine nuts
6 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (or less if you don't like your food SPICY)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 small eggplants, diced into 1/4"
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder
14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
to serve: sliced toasted baguette OR smashed potatoes (smashed potatoes definitely win)

1. In a large heavy-bottomed pan heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat slightly down, add chopped onion, pine nuts, raisins, red pepper flakes and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, making sure to stir the ingredients and not to burn the garlic.
2. Add cubed eggplant, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, vinegar, water, and season with salt and pepper. You will most likely need more salt than you think. Bring the mixture to a boil.
3. Lower the heat and simmer caponata for 20 minutes.
4. Allow caponata to cool if serving as a crostini or serve steaming hot on top of smashed potatoes garnished with fresh parsley.

This recipe makes A LOT! The flavors of the dish get better the longer the dish sits in the refrigerator. I was surprised that I liked the combination of pine nuts and raisins with cinnamon and cocoa powder: it actually reminded me of the flavors you'd find in Moroccan cooking.

What do YOU make with an eggplant?