When farmer’s markets beckon with the most amazing produce, the key to cooking is simplicity. Simple ingredients and techniques that let the natural, fresh flavors create nirvana on your tongue!
Step 1: Take 1 butternut squash, peel it, de-seed it, chop it into small pieces and lay on a baking tray coated with cooking spray.
Step 2: Create a flavored oil with 2 tbsps olive oil, a few sprigs of oregano, a few springs of thyme, two cloves of crushed garlic, a tsp of salt and a tsp of crushed red pepper.
Step 3: Using a brush, cover each piece of butternut squash with the flavored oil, pouring any remaining oil over the top.
Step 4: Roast the oil covered squash in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes or till squash appears done.
Did you ever eat a dish at a restaurant that has lingered on your taste buds for years to come? And have you tried to go recipe free to create that dish from memory…adding a little bit of this and a shake of that till you taste that nirvana moment? That’s exactly what went down in my kitchen this weekend.
Over a decade ago, during one of our many trips to the DC area, we had tasted the perfect Eggplant Caponata – the depth of the eggplant, combining with the sweet tanginess of the tomatoes and that never can go wrong taste of garlic to create the perfect marriage.
And here’s the equation I used to recreate that amazing taste at home.
1 Eggplant + 4 small tomatoes +1 red onion + 2 cloves of garlic + 1 Tbsp of capers + 3 leaves of basil + 2 Tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Salt + Pepper = One Amazing CAPONATA!
Simply dice the veggies and smash the garlic. Heat the olive oil, fry the onions, add the garlic, give it a stir and add the rest of the veggies/capers/salt/pepper and cook till the eggplant is cooked and blended with the tomatoes and onions (about 10-15 minutes). Garnish with basil leaves and serve with fresh bread or pita chips or anything else! I went overboard and baked a fresh pan of focaccia and served the caponata on open faced sandwiches with fresh mozzarella and a mini caprese salad on the side!
If you’ve tried to create a dish based on taste/smells/memory, we’d love to hear your experience!!