Catalan Samfaina on Garlic Toast

Back in June, Aunt Kris and I took a cooking class, and this was one of the dishes we made that I have been meaning to share. It is SO DARN DELICIOUS and excellent if you have eggplant to use! It is known as a Catalan Ratatouille and is perfect for a warm summer night for dinner or as an appetizer. Even David likes this recipe and he is the pickiest eater I know.

Samfaina is an exuberant vegetable mixture widely used in Catalan cuisine as a sauce or base for meat, fish and fowl dishes. It’s a succulent vegetarian dish that you can eat as a first course or side dish too. Traditionally, the Catalan ratatouille recipe includes onion, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. And as usual, there seems to be as many variations as households.


Sweet and Sour Samfaina:

1 large eggplant, cubed
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
2 bell peppers, cut into 1/4–inch squares
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup orange juice
3 tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch squares
1/3 cup olives, pitted and chopped
3 tbsp capers, chopped
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp sugar
Salt and pepper
¼ cup parsley leaves, chopped

Place eggplant in a colander and layer with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a deep skillet. Add onion and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add celery, peppers and garlic and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Add orange juice and cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, capers, vinegar, and raisins and stir. Add sugar and stir. Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Pour mixture into a bowl, add parsley and set aside. The eggplant should now be ready. Rinse it thoroughly with water and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the last 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and add eggplant. Saute for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the eggplant to the rest of the vegetables and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 12 hours. For this purpose, the samfaina should be served at room temperature.



White country bread
2 garlic cloves, skin removed
Extra virgin olive oil
1 recipe of Samfaina (above)
Slices of Serrano ham (optional)
Manchego cheese (optional)

Prepare a grill or broiler. Slice bread and brush each side with olive oil. Grill on both sides until toasted. Gently rub each side with the garlic clove. Top with a generous amount of samfaina and a slice of Serrano or Manchego.

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