Sous vide is a great method for cooking eggplant and other vegetables because it brings out the natural sweetness often lost during baking, steaming, or braising with high heat. And eggplant is such a versatile vegetable — it lends itself well to spices, herbs, and strongly flavored oils or vinegars because it tends to absorb the flavors of whatever ingredients you choose to add.
This eggplant caponata is a variation on a Mario Batali recipe. It’s basically savory chutney, with just a hint of sweetness and heat, and makes a wonderful topping for grilled crostini.
In his version, Mario blends spicy, sweet, and savory and adds some cinnamon and cocoa powder for good measure. It all works perfectly. I’ve simply changed the quantities of a few ingredients and, of course, the method of cooking.
It’s a snap to put together, but better than that, it’s just plain heavenly to eat on crostini or grilled meat or chicken.
Makes about 5 cups
- Preheat the water bath to 183°F (84°C).
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a rubber spatula until the eggplant and onion are fully coated with the seasonings.
- Transfer the mixture to lidded glass jars or 2 large zip-lock food bags. If using jars, tighten the lids well. If using food bags, seal with the water displacement method.
- Cook for 40 minutes.
- Remove the caponata from the cooking jars or bags and place in a clean container. Cool to room temperature before serving. If you plan to store in your refrigerator, quick-chill in an ice-and-water bath. Enjoy on crostini or atop simple grilled meat or chicken. Can be refrigerated up to 3 days. For the best flavor and texture, allow to come to room temperature before serving.