I had a quick visit to Seattle a couple of weeks ago, where one of the best things we ate was a starter of winter squash “caponata” mixed with tons of cipollini onions and pine nuts at Chef Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie.
The dish was warm and soft and earthy, but perhaps hit too aggressively with balsamic and raisins for my taste (I hate raisins). Meanwhile, the pizzas, especially the airy beauty topped with roasted chanterelles and truffle cheese, were to die for.
I really did like the idea of a wintry root vegetable “caponata” though, so like other great recipe ideas, I stole it, er, made it my own.
Here’s my take on Chef Douglas’ recipe. I don’t mind if you steal it from me, er, make it your own.
SWEET POTATO "CAPONATA"
(makes one tapas-sized bowl)
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and dried and chopped into medium chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp chili flakes
1 tsp dried herbs, such as herbs de Provence or oregano or even rosemary
good pinch of kosher salt
few grinds of black pepper
big handful of salted cashews
2 tbsp crispy fried shallots (buy them at Thai or Indian shops and keep in freezer for times like these)
2 tsp brined capers, drained
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
drizzle of honey
extra drizzle of olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chunks of sweet potato with olive oil and seasonings. Roast in oven on tinfoil for 30 minutes or until browned and soft. When sweet potato is almost cooked, put a non-stick pan on medium heat, toast cashews, then add fried shallots and capers. Stand back and pour in vinegar. Add sweet potatoes, honey and olive oil and toss it all together. Taste for seasoning and add more of whatever you think it needs: It’s your recipe now.