Eggplant Relish

October 6, 2013

Okay, so before we get any further, let me reassure you that this is in no way related to that bright green pickly goop you put on your hot dogs.  (Though this eggplant relish *would* be fantastic on a hot dog, just sayin’)  I’m calling it an eggplant relish because… well, I don’t know what else to call it.  It’s somewhere between an agrodulce and a caponata (and I’m not entirely clear on the difference between those two to begin with) so to me, it’s now a relish.  Let’s just roll with that, shall we?

So I made this some time ago, as part of a “make your own bruschetta” spread for a party.  It went with some homemade basil pesto, sliced tomatoes, sliced bread, and sliced fresh mozzarella.  It was so good.  Eggplant is just fantastic for soaking up flavor and bringing out other flavors.  And getting lovely and mushy and DELICIOUS.  So, here we go.  Apologies for lack of any sort of measurements, but you’re probably used to that by now.

The goods:

1 medium-ish eggplant, diced into little bitty pieces (I’d say no bigger than 1/2 inch cubes.)

1 large yellow onion, diced

salt, pepper

balsamic vinegar

sugar

red wine (optional)

extra virgin olive oil (okay, you can use any, but I have a fondness for the EVOO)

The method:

You need your biggest skillet/frying pan.  More surface area = awesome.

Get that heated around medium, drizzle in the oil two or three times around the pan.  Add your onions and caramelize them til they’re light golden.  Add your eggplant, turn up the heat a little, saute until it starts to brown.

Splash in a good amount of balsamic – don’t cover everything, but seriously some good glugs.  Don’t be afraid if it looks like you’ve overdone it – the longer it cooks the more it reduces to a lovely syrupy sweet awesomeness. Heck, splash in some wine too if you feel like it. Sprinkle on some sugar, just a little on top. (Use a bit more sugar if you’ve also added wine.)

— Optional extras at this time: dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme.

Stir it all, and simmer, stirring occasionally.  Simmer until everything has reduced practically away.  Simmer until everything is mushy and soft and you just can’t TAKE it anymore because your kitchen smells like onions and balsamic and love.  Simmer until there’s almost no liquid left in your pan.

Cool it down, add some salt and pepper if it needs it, and go to town.  Great on bread, fish, chicken, crackers … well, pretty much anything, I’d say.  Enjoy!

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