Thursday, October 16, 2008

Caponata (and Steak)

Calliope Eggplant

Caponata is a classic Sicilian dish of Eggplant stewed with onion, celery, olives, capers, and tomatoes. Vinegar and sugar give it a mild sweet and sour tang and add to its keeping qualities.

Last night I made it with Calliope Eggplant from the garden. I basically followed Judith Barrett's recipe from her book From An Italian Garden. Her recipe is unique for the addition of a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder. It doesn't taste chocolaty but has an added richness and depth of color that is wonderful. The only diversion I made from her recipe was using fresh peeled and chopped tomatoes instead of canned.

I served that alongside a buffalo New York strip steak - that's buffalo as in bison, not the city in New York state. The steak was cut thin, so I pounded it lightly and then applied a spice paste to briefly marinate it.

Shallot Marinated Buffalo Steak

2 thin cut buffalo (bison) New York strip steaks, about 12 ounces
2 walnut sized shallots, peeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon asian fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground aleppo pepper or cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Trim excess fat from the steaks. Lightly pound the steaks to about 1/3-inch thick.

Grate the shallots on the medium holes of a box grater. Combine the grated shallots, olive oil, fish sauce, aleppo pepper, oregano, salt and fresh ground pepper. Spread the mixture on both sides of the steaks and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat a ridged grill pan over medium heat and grill the steaks until medium rare.

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