04 December 2008


I have always loved the idea of eggplants--the glossy, deep purple skin, the pleasing shape, the heft of one in your hand. But I wasn't so much of a fan of them in practice, especially when they remain somewhat uncooked and you get that styrofoamy texture that I find so unpleasant. I had never been really successful in cooking them myself, not for lack of trying.

But caponata has changed my mind. I tried making it the other day, because I bought an eggplant (see above re: seduction of eggplant in the marketplace) and had all the other ingredients on hand (except vinegar, and the result when I substituted the brine from some good olives was so delicious that I will always make it that way). The Mister and I swooned over it. And I made it again today, even with a slightly unripe eggplant, and it still cooked down into this delicious soft yet sturdy concoction that I could eat it every day for a week. Now I am emboldened to learn how to make samfaina, which is a Catalan dish of eggplant and peppers that is very similar, also something between a sauce and a side dish.

It also made me think about the word eggplant, which is somewhat inelegant and prosaic, and how I prefer the British term aubergine, so rounded and soft sounding, like the vegetable itself. In fact, the word comes from the Catalan albergínia, via French, and the Catalans got the word from Arabic (go here to learn more about the word). It's a very mediterranean word for a very mediterranean vegetable.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

oooh...do you feel like posting recipes for either of those dishes? they sound yummy--and would be a nice break from all the root vegetables we're eating these days!