caponata jam n olive oil financier

by hungryrabbit on September 24, 2010

Olive Oil Financier w Caponata Jam

Caponata is a classic Sicilian dish that I have come to adore because of my love for sweet and sour dishes. (See my gushing over Sweet n Sour Pork in my previous post.) Caponata consists of eggplants/aubergine, celery, tomatoes, onions, and capers, with raisins added for sweetness and vinegar for the sour tangy taste. The dish exists in many variations all over Italy and the Mediterranean region, each having its own local interpretation by using different ingredients to alter the taste and texture. Caponata is mostly used as an appetizer or snack on crostini or as an accompaniment to fish dishes.

Not a fan of eggplant? Caponata is a great vehicle to re-introduce you to this nightshade vegetable. This dish’s sweetness and sourness overtakes the basic earthy flavor of the vegetable that many people don’t like and is more prominent in other eggplant preparations.

So for this month’s 4 Velveteer Challenge, we were given the assignment to reinterpret Caponata with our own creative spin. I decided to create a amuse-bouche, a single bite-sized hors d’oeuvre featuring Caponata’s signature flavor profile with other complimentary flavors. Instead of raisins or currants, I used apples as a sweetener and for its pectin to create a Caponata Jam. A pinch of cinnamon pays homage to its ancient Arabic roots, and lemon zest punches up the freshness.

The jam is served with fresh basil on an olive oil financier. The taste of a fruity vibrant olive oil in the financier round off the sharp bright flavors of the jam and basil.

Olive Oil Financier w Caponata Jam

recipe by hungry rabbit, 2010
make 2 dozen


Caponata Jam

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup yellow onions, diced
1/2 cup celery stalk, diced
3/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup eggplant, diced
3/4 cup tart apples, diced
3/4 cups tomatoes, diced and reserve accumulated juices (you can substitute with canned diced tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar or to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add salt, onions, celery and red bell peppers, sauté until translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant, apples and sauté until beginning to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, oregano, cinnamon, black pepper, fish sauce and red pepper flakes, if use. Simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens, stirring often, about 30 minutes. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest and capers. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

2. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Store in clean jar and refrigerate up to a week.

Olive Oil Financier

adapted from Thomas Keller
make 2 dozen


1/3 cup Almond flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large egg whites
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325℉ with rack in center position. Lightly coat mini-muffin pan (24 count) with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Whisk together, flours, sugar and salt. Add egg whites and whisk to combine. Add oil in a slow stream,whisk to combine. Add rosemary, whisk until fully incorporated.

3. Divide batter among muffin cups. Baked until lightly golden and toothpick comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes

4. Remove financier from muffin pan and cool completely on cooling rack.

To Assemble
24 basil leaves
24 mozzarella pieces, about 1-1/2 round

Halve financier horizontally, spoon a generous teaspoon of jam on bottom half, add basil leaf and mozzarella. Place top half over and serve.

Cook’s Notes
1. Financier can be made 2 days in advance, bring to room temperature before assembly.

2. You  can puree jam, full or partial, in food processor for extra smooth texture

Founders 4 Velveteers
Asha of Fork Spoon Knife
Allessio of RecipeTaster
Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen
Pam of Cooking Ninja

Members 4 Velveteers
Ken of Hungry Rabbit
Madhuli of My Food Court

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Asha@FSK September 24, 2010 at 9:57 am

Lovely take on this classic Ken!! Beautiful photos

Victoria September 24, 2010 at 10:13 am

Looks gorgeous!!

Ethan September 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm

It’s one thing to follow a recipe, it’s another thing to take it and give it your own spin. Looks amazing!

Aparna September 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Finding your intepretation very interesting. Like the twist on the caponata, both the use of apples and the jam. Unusual presentation and lovely pictures, Ken.

Deeba September 24, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Oh you are born to rule the world, sweet Ken! WOW WOW WOW!! Feed me matey … this is GOOD!

sarah September 24, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Ken, it looks and sounds delicious. I love the mini muffins turned financiers. I’ll add your post to the list on http://simplycooked.blogspot.com/2010/09/caponata-sicilian-aubergine-relish.html

The Cooking Ninja September 24, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Love love your creativeness on this classic dish! You rock! Now you are making me wish for a taste of your jam. I have something in mind but don’t know if it is workable or not. LOL! It’s a twist of asian dish.

Veena September 25, 2010 at 1:23 am

Amazing!!! you are truly so creative.

Pam @ Cooking world September 25, 2010 at 4:29 am

What I love about food blog is amazingly creative ideas that flows through it. I would have never guessed to make caponata with such a twist with apple and all but I love it and pictures looks simply lovely.

Jamie September 25, 2010 at 5:10 am

Wow am I impressed! The photos grabbed my attention – they are simply gorgeous – but the recipe is fabulous! Both the caponata and the muffins are wonderful and are making me hungry for something this flavorful and elegant! Talented, Ken! I can’t wait to come and visit…

Charles September 25, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Stunning photos and stunning looking site. Congratulations. Looking forward to seeing more.

Saltyseattle September 26, 2010 at 12:21 pm

You’ve changed my mind as to the world of financiers. I love the words, images & vibe of this post- thank you for sharing it with us, my sweet friend.

Garrett September 26, 2010 at 1:59 pm

They look striking! I love it!

Sean September 27, 2010 at 10:34 am

I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit the caponata jam to the site. Good stuff!

Brian @ A Thought For Food September 29, 2010 at 9:00 am

Ken… this is truly gorgeous. Eric was not a huge fan of eggplant when we first met… but I turned him very quickly. Caponata really is a great way to do convert those haters.

Prerna@IndianSimmer September 29, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Hey thr,
Stumbled upon your blog today and what a great surprise it was! You have a GORGEOUS space here. Beautiful photography and lovely recipes. Looking forward to seeing around!

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