Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Lindsay went up to Baton Rouge on Sunday. As is often the case when left alone at home, I spent most of the day puttering around the kitchen. First task was to bake French batards from Peter Reinhart's bread book I picked up last week. Overall, a success but with after some fine tuning and practice it may be time to open Most Valuable Bakery.
Around two o'clock in the afternoon the urge to barbecue took over or more accurately something to dip into barbecue sauce. Ribs soon were on the grill and the makings of a hybrid tomato/vinegar sauce on the stove. After an hour of simmering on the stove, I strained the mixture- chock full of bits of tomato, Anaheim peppers, onion, and garlic, and noticed that what remained in the strainer looked eerily similar to caponata. Caponata, for those unfamiliar, is an eggplant relish basically, meant to be eaten cold smeared on top of bread. It is usually salty, acidic, slightly bitter and just a touch of sweetness, making it the perfect appetizer.
Curiosity getting the better of me, I stuck a spoon into the mixture and took a bite. Delicious. The tomatoes, onions, and peppers had become almost jam like (in fact that is basically what happened) while the acid from the vinegar helped counteract the sweetness. I added a touch of bacon and Worcestershire Sauce which helped bring the smoky flavors so welcome in barbecue into the sauce and relish. And the barbecue sauce wasn't half bad either.
BBQ Caponata and Sauce
1 small can of whole tomatoes, crushed with stem ends removed, and juice preserved
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 yellow onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
3 tablespoons of ketchup
1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard
1 strip of bacon cut into a medium dice
1 teaspoon red chili flake
3 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
In a sauce pan, add the bacon and render on medium low heat. Once crispy, add in the onion, Serrano, and garlic and cook until soft and just starting to color. Then add in the ketchup and mustard and let it cook until sticky. Now add in the tomatoes and their juice, vinegars, the chili flake, the honey, brown sugar, and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 45 minutes. Taste, adjust seasoning. Probably needs a bit of salt.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer. In the bowl under the strainer you have barbecue sauce. In the strainer you have caponata. Find some Ritz Crackers, a cold beer, and enjoy.