Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bo's Ribs, Mashed Cauliflower, and Creamed Spinach

Bravo! Sunday dinner at its best!

Dry Rub for Ribs


  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 T granulated garlic
  • 1 T granulated onion
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 1 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 t white pepper


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Pack the dry rub onto a rack of ribs. Store remainder in an air tight container.

Arrange a gas grill in the following manner: Place pre-soaked wood chips in an aluminum pan on direct heat. Put a pan of water on the lowest rack of the grill. Cook the ribs on the top rack over water with the heat between 225-250 for as long as it takes. You can tell the ribs are ready when the meat retracts from the bone ends by 1/2 inch.

Mashed Cauliflower


  • 1 large head cauliflower, finely chopped (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives


Add the cauliflower to a medium-sized saucepan along with the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the roasted garlic and season with salt and pepper, to taste. 

Stir in the milk and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Mix in the cheese and taste for seasoning. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and garnish with sour cream and chives. 

Creamed Spinach


  • 1 stick Butter
  • 8 Tablespoons Flour
  • ½ whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 2 cups Milk
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pinch Ground Nutmeg
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 24 ounces, weight Baby Spinach


Melt 1 stick of butter in a pot. Sprinkle in flour and whisk together. Cook over medium heat for five minutes or until light golden brown. Throw in onion and garlic and stir together, cooking for another minute. Pour in milk, whisking constantly, and cook for another five minutes while you cook the spinach.

To cook spinach, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a separate pot. Add spinach in increments until all incorporated, and cook until wilted but not soggy, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Season the cream sauce with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add spinach to the cream sauce, stirring gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Wow! I stumbled upon these a while ago and it was love at first sight. What's not to love?! *I used low fat ingredients (aside from the bacon...) and the taste quality was in no way compromised. But if you're going to wrap it in bacon, you may as well use full-fat dairy products, I suppose. It's your call.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 6-10 (appetizers)

  • 12 jalapenos
  • 1/2 c cream cheese
  • 1/4 c shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1 lb peppered bacon

1. Blanch the peppers in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Remove to a cold water bath and let cool 2 minutes. Once cooled, slice the peppers long ways on one side and remove seeds under running water with a butter knife or your finger. I gave up on the butter knife and used my finger- no pepper related injuries were incurred.

2. Combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese and sour cream in a bowl. Pipe into peppers with a pastry bag or zipper bag.

3. Wrap in bacon beginning at the bottom of the pepper and tuck the loose end at the top into the previous wrap. You'll get the hang of it.

4. Grill on high for 8-10 minutes turning gently occasionally. Lots of flames will well up... That's exactly what you want.

Stuffed Pork Loin with Horseradish and Dijon Sauce

Travis did a great job at preparing this pork tenderloin for stuffing. Click here, for a great video which will give you step by step directions. It should look like the photo on the right before you proceed with the directions below. I served this dish with steamed asparagus and topped it with the sauce.

Stuffed Pork Loin
Serves 4


Thanksgiving in January’s Apple Sage Stuffing (DO NOT BAKE)
1 pork tenderloin ready for stuffing
Salt and Pepper
Kitchen Twine


Prepare the stuffing according to the directions in my Thanksgiving in January post.

Prepare the pork tenderloin for stuffing according to the directions in the video above.

Before laying down the stuffing, salt and pepper the pork tenderloin all over. Lay the stuffing down lengthwise in the bottom lower part of the tenderloin and roll up. Secure the pork with kitchen twine. Roast the pork in a preheated oven for about 90 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F.

Horseradish and Dijon

Serves 4


¼ cup(s) mayonnaise, light
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon mustard, dijon-style
1 tablespoon horseradish
2 clove(s) garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper


Combine all the above ingredients in a small bowl; stir well. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Cuban Pork and Pineapple Tacos with Creamed Corn Poblanos

Cuban Pork and Pineapple Tacos
Serves 4


Pork tenderloin
Lemon juice
Flour tortillas
½ c Pineapple, chopped
½ c Avocado, chopped
½ c Tomatoes, chopped
Crumbled Goat Cheese
Hot Sauce


Marinate pork tenderloin in EVOO, lemon juice, garlic and oregano; cook on high for 4 hours in a slow cooker; shred.

In flour tortillas, layer the pork, chopped pineapple, avocado, tomato, cilantro, and crumbled cheese. Top with hot sauce.

Creamed Corn Poblanos
Serves 4


2 poblano chilies
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1½ cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 cup sour cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Roast the poblanos in the oven, turning, until charred all over. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel, core and seed the chilies, then cut them into thin strips.

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and poblano strips and cook until the corn is tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Keep the warm over low heat.

Baked Eggs with Chorizo and Potatoes

This is one of the favorite Sunday breakfasts. It is so delicious and has everything you could want in a one cast iron meal (any oven safe skillet will work)!

Serves 4

2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes

1 1/2 pounds fresh chorizo, casings removed (see Note)

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

8 large eggs

Toast and hot sauce, for serving


Preheat the oven to 375°. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 25 minutes; drain and let cool. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 3/4-inch pieces.

Meanwhile, heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Add the chorizo, break it into chunks with a wooden spoon and cook over moderate heat, turning, until cooked through and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Scrape the chorizo mixture into a bowl and wipe out the skillet.

Heat the oil in the skillet. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until golden and crispy, about 6 minutes. Stir in the chorizo mixture. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Using a ladle, make 8 indentations in the potato-chorizo mixture about 1 inch apart; crack an egg into each one. Bake the skillet in the middle of the oven for about 12 minutes, or until the egg whites are just set but the yolks are still runny. Serve at once with toast and hot sauce.

MAKE AHEAD The potatoes can be boiled a day ahead and refrigerated. NOTES Spicy fresh chorizo, which looks a lot like Italian sausage links, is available at Whole Foods markets and many Latin American food stores.

Recipe from Food and Wine Magazine

Thanksgiving in January

I made this dish for Thanksgiving of 2011 but I am just posting it now! Ah...where has the time gone. The meal included, roasted duck with gravy, steamed broccoli, potatoes au gratin, apple sage stuffing, canned cranberries, and dinner rolls. I started the afternoon of with some mimosas, shrimp cocktail, and Brie cheese with crackers.

Roasted Duck:

I cannot take credit for this roasted duck recipe. I did a lot of research and this website was the best one I found. The detailed pictures make roasting a duck a simple thing to conquer. It turned out amazing and we got about 1 cup of duck fat out of the recipe. With that fat I have made such things as fried potatoes to duck fat pancakes (yum)!

Here is a link to the recipe: http://www.thehungrymouse.com/2009/02/11/the-best-way-to-roast-a-duck-hello-crispy-skin/

Easy Giblet Gravy:

Serves 6


4 cups chicken stock
1 cup skimmed (fat removed) pan drippings from dick
Chopped cooked duck giblets and neck
1/3 cup cold water
¼ c corn starch
Salt and pepper to taste


To cook the giblets and neck, roast them in pan with duck for about an hour or until done. Pull meat from neck and chop giblets into bite size pieces.

In a Dutch over, bring chicken stock, pan drippings, and chopped giblet and neck meat to a boil over medium high heat. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

In a small bowl, combine water and corn starch, stirring until smooth. Add to stock mixture, and cook stirring often, for 6 to 8 minutes or until thickened. Stir in salt and pepper.

Potato au gratin (recipe from Bon Appetit):

Serves 8


1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups finely chopped leeks (white and green parts only; about 3 large)
1 1/2 pounds 1/2-inch cubes assorted mushrooms (such as crimini and stemmed shiitake; about 10 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon (or more) salt
1/2 teaspoon (or more) freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère cheese


Heat 1/4 cup oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks; sauté until soft and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and liquid evaporates, 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

DO AHEAD Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pat potato slices dry with kitchen towel. Combine cream, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in large pot. Add potatoes. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid; simmer until cream is reduced by about half and potatoes are partially cooked, stirring often and watching closely to prevent mixture from burning, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with oil. Transfer half of potato mixture to dish, spreading out in even layer. Spoon mushroom mixture over in even layer. Spoon remaining potato mixture over, spreading in even layer. Sprinkle cheese over. Cover with foil, tenting in center to prevent cheese from sticking to foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until potatoes are tender and top is brown, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Steamed Broccoli:

Serves 4


1 1/2 lbs broccoli
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 tsp lemon juice


Trim the broccoli into large florets.

Place the broccoli in a steaming basket over boiling water; cover and steam for 3 minutes.

Remove the lid for a moment, then cook, partially covered, until the stems are tender-firm, another 8-10 minutes.

Remove to a platter; season with salt and pepper, the butter, and the lemon juice.

Apple Sage Stuffing:

Serves 6


2 Tbs butter
1 onion (finely chopped)
2 stalks celery
2 granny smith apples
1/2 cup fresh sage, chopped or 3 tablespoons dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
Ground pepper
1 -1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg


Pre heat the oven to 350 degres.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. When the foaming subsides, add the chopped onion and celery. Sauté on a gentle heat for 8 minutes. Cook until translucent, avoid browning. Add the apple for 2 minutes.

Take pan off heat and add all remaining ingredients.

Mix well with your hands to incorporate the egg. If the mixture seems a little too dry, add a touch of water. If too moist, add some more breadcrumbs. It should hold its shape easily.

Bake in a covered baking dish at 350 for 30 minutes.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Broiled Butterflied Chicken

I have a personal goal of increasing my bird carving skills. Today, I made serious progress toward that goal thanks to Julia Child's Broiled Butterflied Chicken tutorial and recipe.

'Rather than broiling a chicken in pieces, which is easy to do but not wildly exciting, and rather than roasting it whole, which takes an hour or more, butterfly your chicken. It cooks in half the time and makes a great presentation.


  • A 2½-to-3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, butterflied
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter blended with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoons dried thyme or an herb mixture
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot or scallion
  • ½ cup chicken broth and/or dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, for enrichment


1. To Butterfly a Chicken: With heavy shears or a cleaver, cut down close to the backbone on each side, and remove the bone. Spread the chicken open, skin side up, and pound on the breast with your fist to flatten the chicken. Cut off and discard the little nubbins at the wing elbows, and fold the wings akimbo. To hold the legs in place, make ½-inch slits in the skin on each side of the lower breast and tuck the drumstick ends through the slits.

2. Preheat the broiler to high. Brush the chicken all over with butter and oil and arrange it skin side down in a shallow pan. Set it under the broiler so the chicken surface is about 6 inches from the heat source. Let broil for about 5 minutes, then baste rapidly with the butter and oil, and continue for another 5 minutes. The surface should be browning nicely; if not, adjust the heat or the distance of chicken from broiler. Baste again, this time with the juices accumulated in the pan, and broil another 5 minutes. Then season with salt and pepper, turn the chicken skin side up, and season the surface. Continue broiling and basting with the pan juices every 5 minutes for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is done (see Notes).

3. Remove the chicken to a carving board and let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, make the deglazing sauce by first spooning cooking fat off the juices in the pan. Then stir the shallot into the pan and simmer for a minute or so on top of the stove, until the juices are syrupy. Swirl in the enrichment butter, pour over the chicken, and serve.

(I served it with barley risotto and brussel sprouts. Delish!)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

AAAH! I Love this pizza. It's my favorite pizza ever... Wow! This dish is great for coming home exhausted and having a delicious pizza 15 minutes later. Just remember to take the dough out before you leave for work, and it makes the fluffiest most amazing pizza crust!

  • 1 frozen loaf of bread dough
  • 1 chicken breast, boiled and chopped/shredded
  • 1/4 c Red Hot
  • 1/2 c chopped pineapple
  • 1/4 finely chopped white or red onion
  • 4 oz blue veined cheese (gorgonzola, amish, fresh bleu cheese)
  • 1/2 c shredded mozzarella

1. Slather a frozen bread dough with canola oil and lay it on a baking sheet. Cover with saran wrap and let sit in the cool oven all day (6-10 hours) while you're at work. Don't worry about how huge the bread gets... I seriously left it for 12 hours today because it was just a really long day.
2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Oil a pizza dish or the same baking sheet (just transfer the dough off while you oil the sheet). Press the dough out into the shape of the dish.
3. Spread Red Hot on dough. Then crumble bleu cheese and spread evenly.

4. Add onion, chicken, mozz and pineapple.

5. Bake at 400 for 12 minutes. Remove and let cool 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chili Lime Cod Loins with Avocado Salsa

This is most certainly a nod to Monica's dish (that I LOVE and make so frequently that I had to start messing with the recipe to change it up...) Cayenne Chicken with Avocado Salsa

  • 4 cod loins (1 lb)
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 limes, halved
  • Salt, pepper
  • Chili powder

1. Prep salsa by combining avocado, tomato, and 1 lime in a bowl. Fold it together and let it chill in the fridge.
2. Season the cod loins with salt, pepper, and a light smattering of chili powder.
3. Heat a saute pan or skillet on medium high heat, just until it starts to smoke. Reduce heat to medium and place cod loins on pan. Nudge with a spatula once a minute to see if they're ready to flip. They're not ready to flip until they stop nudging back (3-4 minutes). Flip 'em when they're ready, and let cook another 1-2 minutes.
4. When fish is done, squeeze the remaining lime over the cooked pieces. Top with avocado salsa and serve with long grain rice. Yum!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Eggplant Pizzettes

Great low-carb substitute to pizza :) Top them with whatever you want!

  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 c red sauce/pizza sauce
  • 1/4 lb pepperoni
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella
  • 1 handful banana peppers


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Warm Chocolate Melting Cake

[This post was contributed by Jolene's brother, John. ]

In honor of Jolene joining the ranks of the gainfully employed, we prepared her a celebratory dinner culminating in (what else?) a delicious chocolatey dessert.

Katherine and I have been on two cruises and both of them featured this decadent dessert, infamously known as the "Warm Chocolate Melting Cake".  At dinner every night the waiter would come by with his menu full of delightful new treats, and Katherine would patiently wait for the rest of us to figure out what we wanted.  But she already KNEW what she was going to get - one of the few items on the menu every single night - the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. 

Served in a ramekin and dusted with powdered sugar, the unassuming exterior hid a sinfully gooey center.  I swear there were times when she snuck one in at the breakfast buffet, tracked one down at lunch, and had one or TWO at dinner.  You know what they say about calories when you're out of the country - they don't count!

Following is a recipe allegedly scaled down from Carnival's actual onboard chef's manual.  The original recipe called for 50 lbs of chocolate and 500 eggs!  My variation neglects the powdered sugar, and turns the cakes out of the ramekin for a little different presentation.  We made half of the recipe listed below, but the full recipe will make 6 individual 4oz ramekins.

  • 8 oz dark chocolate (or you can substitute 1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chips)
  • 8 oz butter (2 sticks)
  • 5 eggs
  • 5/8 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour

1.  Preheat oven to 375.
2.  Melt chocolate and butter together over low heat.  We did it the gangster way, in a dinged up old metal measuring cup straight on the stove, but you can use a double boiler or a microwave if you prefer.  To use the microwave, simply chop everything up into manageable chunks and put it in a bowl.  Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then take it out and stir.  Microwave it for 20 more seconds, and continue the cycle until the butter and chocolate have fully melted.  Set the mixture aside to cool.

3.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and then add the sugar.  Mix well, and then add the flour.  Again mix well until you have a nice goopy texture, like you can see in the picture.  We don't want any lumps!


4.  Slowly add the relatively cooled chocolate to the egg mixture, stirring constantly.  You'll want to make sure the chocolate is cool enough to not cook the eggs on contact, but it's best to add the chocolate slowly just to make sure.


 5.  Take your ramekins and coat with cooking spray/crisco/butter.  Wipe out the excess, then dust the dishes with flour so the finished cakes will come out nice and easy.  I like to dust with cocoa powder instead since it's brown, but honestly flour is just as good.

6.  Fill ramekins roughly 3/4 of the way, leaving some room for the cake to expand while baking.

7.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of your ramekins and the texture you like.  Consistency will vary from hot fudge sauce to heavy pudding.  As every oven and ramekin is different, the only good way to tell when it's done to your liking is to open the oven and jiggle it.  Depending on how jiggly the center still is, with a little experience you can tell if it's ready.  For reference these cakes were firm and unmoving in the outer half inch around the edge but fairly jiggly in the middle.

8.  Let them cool for a few minutes, then carefully run a butter knife around the edge to separate the cake from the ramekin.  Invert the plate on top of the ramekin, then turn the whole thing upside down.  Gently tap the ramekin's bottom to get the underside of the cake to separate as well.  Carefully lift the ramekin off of the cake. 

9.  Serve with vanilla ice cream, and go to work!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Appetizers Galor

Stuffed Mushrooms, Lettuce Wraps, and Eggplant Caponata Crostini

I made these three appetizers for Monica's New Years Eve party. They were a great combination and each offered something different. They each can be made a day or two before so they are great for a party! See the notes at the end of each recipe for making in advance.

Stuffed Mushrooms
Makes 24 mushrooms

24 medium mushrooms, about 1 pound
6 tablespoons reduced-fat stick margarine
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (3-ounce) package low-fat cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 cup packaged herb-seasoned stuffing croutons


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove stems from mushrooms. Chop enough stems to make 1 cup. Melt 2 tablespoons margarine in saucepan. Brush mushroom cap tops with margarine, place top side down in shallow baking pan and brush undersides of caps. Heat remaining margarine in same saucepan. Add chopped mushroom stems, onion and garlic and cook until tender. Stir in cream cheese, combining with fork if necessary. Add Parmesan cheese, parsley and herb seasoned stuffing. Mix thoroughly. Spoon about 1 tablespoon stuffing mixture into each mushroom cap. Bake until heated through.

Tip: To make ahead, prepare as directed but do not bake. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Bake as directed.

Lettuce Wraps
Makes 2 cups filling


For the Chicken:

1 large egg white
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced

For the Stir-Fry Sauce:

2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the Stir-Fry:

4 tablespoons peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced peeled ginger
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
4 scallions; 2 minced, 2 cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and diced
3/4 cup diced water chestnuts

Small lettuce leaves, for serving

Soy sauce, chili paste and/or hot mustard, for serving


Prepare the chicken: Whisk the egg white, cornstarch and rice wine in a bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Make the stir-fry sauce: Whisk 1/3 cup water, the oyster, hoisin and soy sauces, the rice wine and sesame oil in a bowl, then whisk in the cornstarch until dissolved.

Make the stir-fry: Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil to the skillet; when almost smoking, stir in the garlic, ginger, jalapeno and minced scallions, then add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the sugar and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, water chestnuts and scallion pieces and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the stir-fry sauce and chicken and cook 1 minute.

Serve the stir-fry with lettuce leaves and soy sauce and chili paste for dipping.

Tip: To make ahead, prepare the lettuce wrap filling as directed and refrigerate until use. Can be made 48 hours in advance. Heat filling in the microwave before serving.

Eggplant Caponata Crostini
Makes 40 crostinis

One 1 1/2-pound eggplant
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup tomato sauce or puree
Freshly ground pepper

40 thin toasted slices of baguette, for serving

1 tablespoon chopped basil


Quarter the eggplant lengthwise. Scoop out the very seedy parts and discard. Cut the remaining eggplant into 1/2-inch dice. In a colander set in the sink, lightly salt the eggplant cubes and toss well. Top with a sturdy plate weighed down with a heavy can and let drain for 1 hour. Rinse the eggplant cubes and pat dry.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl.

Add the onion and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and cook over moderately low heat until the onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Return the eggplant to the skillet. Stir in the capers, olives and balsamic vinegar and cook until the vinegar has evaporated. Add the tomato sauce and cook over low heat, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl to cool.

Shortly before serving, spread the caponata on the baguette toasts and garnish with the basil.

Tip: To make ahead, prepare the topping as directed and refrigerate until use. Bring to room temp before serving, do not reheat. The caponata can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.