Brancaccio's Caponata Establishes Mediterranean Peace
Eggplant and tomato sometimes have a strained relationship. The tart, red nightshade often steals the show in this combo, which is a longtime staple of Mediterranean cooking. From moussaka to samfaina, even the slightest excess of tomato masks the shiny, purple gourd's delicate, nutty earthiness.
But the caponata at Windsor Terrace's Brancaccio's forges a splendid truce between these two mainstays.
The dish, Italy's take on France's ratatouille, brings eggplant -- and just the slightest hint of tomato -- together with almond slices, capers, celery, onions, red bell peppers, and raisins. Generous splashes of olive oil, and traces of salt and garlic, give dimension to the generally sweet offering. The capers also cast a light smokiness, keeping the plate from tasting candied.
The chilled and finely chopped mix has a texture similar to a chutney or relish, but doesn't run the risk of becoming mushy puree. The almonds, understated yet crunchy, help with that, too.
At $5.70 for a bit more than a half-pound, this pick merits a trip on the F train. Though tasty, know that Brancaccio's offering can border on sugary, so, depending upon the batch, the item makes for a better side than main course.
Brancaccio's Food Shop 3011 Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn 718-435-1997
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