brinjal caponata

Saratoga Lamb Chops with Eggplant Confit and Roasted Spring Asparagus

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Lamb chops with bold, complex flavors but simple to execute without spending hours over a sweltering stove this summer! Paired with young asparagus but choose your favorite vegetable….

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

4 Saratoga lamb chops* or loin chops
Kosher or sea salt – to taste
Cracked black pepper – to taste
6 tbsp. olive oil
16 fresh green or purple asparagus spears
Meyer or eureka lemons
1 8oz. jar of Le Bon Magot® Brinjal Caponata – Aubergine with Cumin & Curry Leaves

*(note: Saratoga Lamb Chops are boneless chops cut from lamb shoulder, rolled and tied into flat rounds. If you cannot find Saratoga Lamb Chops, bone-in lamb loin chops will offer an equally delicious result.)

Preparation

Generously salt and pepper both sides of each lamb chop.

Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet.

Place 2 chops in the pan (or whatever number your pan can accommodate without crowding). Make sure the pan is hot prior to placing the chops.

Sear the lamb chops – approx. 4-5 minutes each side. Taking care not to move them, allowing them to sear and develop a slightly charred but flavorful crust.

Remove chops from pan and let them rest but keep warm.

For the asparagus, set oven to broil.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut the ends of the asparagus and discard.

Toss the asparagus in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well-coated. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and lay asparagus in one layer on the baking sheet.

Put the baking sheet in the oven approximately 3-4 inches from the broiler. Keep an eye on the asparagus! It will only take 3 minutes or so to cook. You are looking for a golden-brown color on the tips and the stems.  Remove from oven once you see the golden-brown color develop.

Plating and Serving
Plate the asparagus and the lamb chops next to each other. Spoon the Le Bon Magot® Brinjal Caponata generously over the chops.  Using a microplane, zest the lemon over both the lamb chop and the asparagus.

This dish is so versatile, it can be accompanied with polenta, Israeli couscous, orzo or roasted potatoes-your choice.

2015 Williams Seylem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir or a Syrah are the Chef’s choices for wine pairings. 

Sautéed Fingerling Potatoes with Eggplant Caponata

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Recipe courtesy Jehangir Mehta

Makes 10 servings

2 pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed (if you can't find fingerlings, try baby Yukon Gold potatoes)
¼ cup grapeseed oil
1 ½ teaspoon of Gochugaru or Korean chili flakes
1 jar of Le Bon Magot® Brinjal Caponata
1 large scallion – chopped into fine rounds or shred
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
1 teaspoon finely chopped mint
sea salt and freshly ground pepper – to taste

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil. Toss in potatoes and cook over moderate heat until lightly golden. Add Gochugaru and seasoning. Then, toss some more. Add the cut or shredded scallions and allow them to warm through and wilt.

Remove from stove and arrange on platter with flat side of the potatoes facing upwards. Dollop small teaspoons of the Caponata onto the potatoes. Finish with a final flourish of fresh coriander and mint, should you so desire.

Variation:
Prepare hummus as instructed and thin with the Tehina sauce (see Recipes page) to the point you can fill and squeeze out of a condiment squeeze bottle. Using the bottle, squeeze the hummus mixture onto the potatoes after step 4, then complete steps 5-7.

Mini Pizza Bianca with Smoked Scamorza and Brinjal Caponata

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Picture credit: Niloufer Mavalvala

1 pound pre-made pizza dough, room temperature
flour, for dusting
6 oz smoked Scamorza cheese, finely diced
red pimiento peppers, finely diced
Le Bon Magot® Brinjal Caponata with Cumin & Curry Leaves
non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Roll pizza dough onto floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter or just your fingers, shape small rounds of dough (about two inches in diameter). One pound of pizza dough should yield about 20 small pizza rounds. Place rounds on cookie sheet at least one inch apart.

Using your thumb, make a small indentation to the centers of each round. Sprinkle diced Scamorza into each indentation. Place into oven and bake for eight to ten minutes, or until dough is lightly brown and cheese is melted.

Remove pizzas from oven and top each with a small spoonful of Le Bon Magot® Brinjal Caponata with Cumin & Curry Leaves, being sure to include a bit of the oil from the jar. Sprinkle with diced pimiento peppers. Serve hot.

TIP: If smoked Scamorza is not available, a firmer, cave-aged Taleggio is a great substitute.

Hummus Tehina with Brinjal Caponata

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This recipe comes from Zahav, the chef Michael Solomonov’s Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia and recipe book of the same name, which is known for its silky and wonderfully rich hummus. Other Israeli chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi included, use the same method so I am comforted that this he gold standard. Garlic and lemon play small roles here; the indisputable co-stars are the freshly cooked chickpeas and the nutty tahini. Be warned – if you substitute canned chickpeas, you will not get the same smooth texture. Makes approximately 2 cups.

Hummus

1 cup dried chickpeas
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1 1⁄2 cups Tehina Sauce (plus a bit more for the topping)*
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, more to taste
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin, more to taste
8 oz. jar of Le Bon Magot® Brinjal Caponata – purple aubergine with cumin & curry leaves
Chopped fresh parsley, cilantro and/or mint for serving

Basic Tehina Sauce*

1-2 heads of garlics
At least 1 1⁄2 cups of fresh lemon juice (from 6 lemons)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
2 cups of tehina (our preference is for Soom tehina https://www.soomfoods.com/ but any good quality brand will do)
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Hummus

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and cover completely with warm water (chickpeas will double in volume so add more water than you think you need so the chickpeas remain thoroughly soaked even after swelling). Soak the chickpeas for a minimum of 8 hours. When ready, drain and rinse under cold water.

In a medium pot, cover soaked chickpeas by at least 4 inches of water. Add the second teaspoon of baking soda and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface.

Reduce heat to medium and let cook at a vigorous simmer until chickpeas are quite soft, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Make sure they are mushy and falling apart; overcooked chickpeas are the secret to creamy hummus. Drain.

In a food processor, puree the drained chickpeas with 1 1⁄2 cups of tehina sauce, salt and cumin for several minutes, until it is smooth and creamy. Then, puree it some more; and, then some more!

Taste for seasonings, adding more salt, lemon juice and/or cumin as needed.

To serve, spread the hummus in a shallow bowl or even on a plate, dust with a hint of cumin, top with fresh herbs and the caponata.

Basic Tehina Sauce*

While chickpeas are cooking, make the tehina sauce.

In a blender, combine the lemon juice, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let this coarse puree sit 10 minutes. Then, pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a large mixing bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much of the juice and flavor.Add tehina, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the cumin, and blend until a thick paste forms. If needed, add 1/3 to 2/3 cup ice water or additional lemon juice (I like the sauce citrusy as it offsets the sweet creaminess of the chickpeas) while blender is running, a little at a time, until sauce is smooth. You’re looking for a perfectly smooth, creamy sauce.

Once you use the desired amount in the hummus, refrigerate the left over sauce.