Caponata is the epitome of Sicilian flavors. It is sweet, sour and a little salty. It has a depth of flavor that comes out even more after a day or two, and like most things: every Sicilian household has their own variation. It is basically a condiment. It is meant to be eaten along side a main course.
I’m on a serious cherry kick lately. I can’t get enough of them… We have gone through almost 10 pounds in the last month because they always seem to find their way into my cart. You know, just in case I need more. I’ve been putting them in everything from cakes to oatmeal and this week, I decided to go a savory route. If you are unfamiliar with chutney, let me give you a quick description. It’s like a relish, it has sweet and sour ingredients, usually coming from sugar or fruits and vinegar. It is a blend of sweet and savory. It’s a great condiment to use with grilled meats or vegetables and this chutney went splendidly with a grilled flank steak.
Cherry season is nearly over, so don’t wait too long to grab a couple of pounds. I’ll be making another big batch before the summer is over to put up on the shelves so I can enjoy them long after they disappear from the stores.
Let’s “Cherry” On with it!
- 1 1/4 lb. fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped (approximately 3 cups)
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- 1/3 cup dried currants
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 TB whole grain mustard
- 2 TB light brown sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 TB canola oil
- In a medium pot, heat oil over medium low heat then add onions and garlic. Cook until softened, but not browned (5 minutes). Add red wine vinegar and cook a few minutes more.
- Add in cherries, currants, ginger, brown sugar, mustard and salt.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked down and thickened.
- Cool completely then pack in an airtight container and refrigerate.
- I served this with grilled flank steak, but it would be a great addition to a cheese or charcuterie board!
This is officially my first post for the Sunday Supper group and it is rather serendipitous the way things work out. You’ll see what I mean in a second… The theme this week is “The Big Game” and everyone knows what game I’m referring to: Denver Broncos vs Carolina Panthers. My other half is a HUGE Denver Broncos fan, so this game is a Very Big Deal.
Last year, we spent a few days in Denver and I needed supplies for a quinoa salad I was making for about 100 people so we stopped into a local restaurant supply store. In front of the store were two lovely Mexican women making gorditas. I struck up a conversation with them and found out they were mother and daughter. We had quite a lovely chat about Mexico and I must tell you, they made the best gordita filled with rajas that I have had since living in Guadalajara. It was the perfect amount of heat. The peppers were charred to perfection, the gordita was filled with gooey queso and I had fresh salsa verde on the side.
My banana pepper plants have been rather prolific and for this I am grateful. As most of you who are regular visitors to this little space already know, I went a little overboard in planting. I have a tendency to overdo things and this was no exception.
Spending so many years living in an apartment with zero outdoor space, I may have gone a little crazy when I realized that I could grow some of my own food. This had been a goal of mine for a very long time (growing food, not going crazy… that ship has sailed).
I am fascinated by the entire process of planting a seed, taking care of it and watching it grow into something that will actually feed you.
The very first time I had a banana pepper was on a pizza, my Freshman year in college. A small group of us had descended on the pizza place next to campus. We were there under the pretense of “studying” I’m sure. There were pool tables, dart boards (which I became quite skillful at playing), air hockey tables; all the things one thinks of when looking for an appropriate place to “study”.
Anyhow, there we were and one of the guys went to order our pizza and when the waitress came to the table and set it down in front of us, I noticed that it had peppers on it. Not wanting to draw any attention to myself, I dug right in but in my head was this little voice shouting “are you nuts?!”.
As many of you are fully aware, I have an exploding tomato population. I went a bit “Little House on the Prairie” thinking I needed to sow all my seeds to get me through the long, hard winter on the farm apparently. Well, now… I am reaping what I have sown. PUN. FULLY. INTENDED.
It’s mass chaos back there. I think the tomatoes get together in some sort of secret society at night while I’m sleeping, plotting to overthrow me. One day I may wake up to them all crouched down waiting to pounce (think: Lord of the Flies). OK, clearly I’ve gone off on a tangent……