Wow, I don't know how this happened. It seems like all of a sudden, almost overnight, I created freezer overload. I'm trying to figure out what is in there. It's not like I have 20 lbs. of chicken, 15 lbs. steak, and 10 lbs of pork chops hanging out in there. Actually, I think the only piece of meat in there is a single center cut pork chop. The rest is stuff, either I made or my mom made and gave me. (Sometimes she makes too much for herself and gives me some of the leftovers, in case I don't have time to cook one night after work. She's sweet like that!)
In any case, I decided it was time to start eating some of the food in the freezer. Tonight I defrosted some leftover Caponata, that I made about a couple of months ago.
Caponata is a sicilian vegetable dish made with eggplant and is often eaten as a relish, accompaning pork roast or fish. It has a sweet and sour flavor and can be eaten hot, cold or even at room temperature as an anitpasto over crostini. There is a tangyness from vinegar and a sweetness from sugar that awakens your tastebuds.
I had frozen just enough for one meal. Once heated through, I tossed it with mini penne and garnished with fresh basil. It was a pleasant change from the usual weekday dinner. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
The recipe is from Giada DE Laurentiis. In her cookbook, Everyday Italian, it is listed as Everyday Caponata and makes 6 side dish servings. On the Food Network website, she lists the same recipe (basically) with a few minor changes. It is shown as...
Caponata (Picnic Sandwiches)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1(14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons raisins
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 loaf ciabatta bread, cut crosswise into 6 equal pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled
6 slices (1/3-inch-thick) drained fresh water-packed mozzarella
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and saute until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Season with salt. Add the red pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, raisins, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, and capers. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cut the bread pieces horizontally in half. Grill the bread cut-side down on a grill pan over medium-high heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Rub the whole garlic cloves over the toasted side of the bread. Add a slice of mozzarella to bread bottom, spoon the caponata on top, cover with the other bread half, and serve.
To take for a picnic: Wrap the sandwiches separately in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Chill until ready to serve, or keep at room temperature up to 1 hour.What's in your freezer?