Today it’s Eggplant Agrodolce. A little history first. Agrodolce (“Ah-gro-dol-cheh”) is a sweet and sour sauce of Italian origin. Traditionally, it’s made by reducing vinegar and sugar into a sauce. Flavorings may be added such as wine, fruit, or nuts. Some claim that even chocolate may be included. I’ve never use chocolate but, who knows? In Italy, agradolce is served over rigatoni or other wide noodles and, sometimes, lamb. In my recipe I’m paring it with broiled eggplant. My wife claims this is the best eggplant recipe she’s ever tasted. And, Holly, my beloved, is a nuanced critic. She takes her cuisine seriously. And if she says it’s the best, then it is. No argument.
Let me add that the French, not to be outdone, have their own version of the dish, aigredoux. I’ve never tried the French version, but I assume it’s just as good.
This time around, I served the dish with couscous and avocado. If desired, you can use any favorite grain or, as noted, pasta.
4-5 baby eggplants, rinsed and sliced in halve
Olive oil, divided 2 tablespoons each
¼ and ½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons raisins
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1. Preheat broiler to high. Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Brush the eggplant halves on both sides with this mixture. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons olive with ½ teaspoons salt, red wine vinegar, honey, raisins, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to ½ cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, discard garlic, and cover.
3. Broil eggplant slices, turning once until softened and slightly charred, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl or serving dish, drizzle with the agrodolche sauce, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the chopped mint and serve.
Yield: 4 servings or more