Eggplant Ragu with Capers and Parsley

What do you do when you get your farm share and then go out of town?  An urgent need, the next week, to use up eggplant, parsley, and peppers.  So – this:

Eggplant Ragu with Capers and Parsley

  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Japanese or 1 Italian eggplant
  • 1 (or more) fresh bell peppers, any color
  • 3-5 cloves garlic (or more or less, to taste)
  • 1 bunch parsley (or handful of basil or spinach or all or some or none)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes (this can be bottled sauce, canned chopped tomatoes, fresh chopped tomatoes, homemade sauce, whatever)
  • 1 Tbs vinegar (white, cider, rice, wine, whatever)
  • 1-3 Tbs capers (or more or less or none, to taste)
  • salt and pepper as needed (with the capers it might not need much/any salt so taste to adjust)

Dice the eggplant into 1/2″ cubes.  Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and put in the eggplant.  Cook, stirring a couple of times, for about 5 minutes while you dice the pepper in the same size pieces, finely chop the parsley (or basil or spinach, whatever) and garlic.  Add the pepper, parsley, and garlic to the eggplant then add in whatever tomato product you are using, 1 1/2 cups water, the capers, and the vinegar and stir well.  Turn the temperature down to medium low, low then cover the pot and simmer the ragu for about an hour, stirring it every 10 minutes or so.  If it looks like it is getting dry and sticking to the pot turn the temp down and add a little more water.  The eggplant should be tender when this dish is ready to eat.  When it is done you can eat it plain, on top of pasta or rice, topped with yogurt or fresh herbs/spinach.  You can eat this hot or let it cool and eat it as a cold salad.  Or you can poach/heat fish (salmon, ono, tilapia, cod, etc), chicken, tofu in it.  To do this when the ragu is cooked put fish filets, tofu pieces, shredded cooked chicken or thin strips of raw chicken into the ragu.  Cover and allow to simmer until the protein is cooked and hot.

And More of the Green Stuff (Zucchini, that is.)

This dish is for the spicy/savory folks, as the zucchini bread was for the sweet folks.  In our house we like both so have some of each dish on the go right now.  More recipes for zucchini to come…keep reading.

Spicy Zucchini and Eggplant in Tomato Sauce with Olives

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 large or 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 large white onion (or yellow)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups tomato sauce or puree
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-2 cups green olives, to taste (you can use pimento-stuffed Spanish olives or any pitted green ones.  I use these http://www.halutza.com/2007/productsgreenpitted.html, which are from the kibbutz where Jim and I met and they are delicious on their own)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbs ground cumin, to taste (I toast and grind my own seeds, the flavor difference is amazing)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (1/4 makes it flavorful, 1/2 makes it spicy, more makes it fiery.  Substitute 1 tsp paprika instead if you don’t like the heat.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of vinegar – red wine, cider, balsamic, rice

Heat the oil in the bottom of a heavy pot over medium high while you chop the onion.  Put onion in pot and cook slightly (don’t brown) while you chop the eggplant and zucchini into 1″ chunks.  Add veggies to pot and cook for a few minutes, stirring so nothing sticks or burns.  Finely chop the garlic and add to the pot.  Add in the cumin, some black pepper, and cayenne, stir for a minute then add tomato sauce/puree, vinegar, and water.  Stir well and bring to a simmer.  Add in olives and simmer, covered, over lowish heat for at least an hour.  Check and stir every 10 minutes or so.  If it starts to stick, turn down heat.  If it looks like it getting dry, add water.  Taste and season with salt as needed.  Serve hot as a side dish or over rice as a main dish.  Serve cold as a salad or stuffed in a pita.