I became obsessed with eggplant caponata last year after a friend served it to me as an appetizer. However, when I first tried to make it myself, I didn't have any eggplant on hand. So I substituted summer squash and zucchini (and one random patty pan) along with some artichokes and created this wonderfully complex dish. It can be served over chicken or fish or on bread, but I prefer it over a creamy polenta for the contrast in textures. —fiveandspice
Summer Squash and Artichoke Caponata
assorted summer squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
olive oil, divided
large onion, chopped
cloves garlic, minced
large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
white wine vinegar
can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the chopped summer squash until tender. Remove from heat.
In a separate sautee pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium, stir in the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and sugar and stir to coat the onions. Allow to cook for another couple of minutes.
Next add the tomatoes and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, then stir in the vinegar, artichokes, capers, olives, currants, and the cooked summer squash. Cook until everything is heated through, another 5 or so minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over the creamy polenta, topped with a little sprinkling of fresh basil.
In a large pot bring water and cream to a boil. Add the salt, then slowly pour in the polenta, stirring vigorously to prevent clumping.
Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the polenta is thickened, stirring pretty much constantly.
Remove from the heat and gently stir in the butter and Parmesan and thoroughly blended in. Divide between serving dishes and top with caponata.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.