1) Prepare in advance a "Caviar" of eggplant.* Let cool. Then just before preparation blend in finely chopped olives, capers/câpres, grapes, splash of vinegar (Aceto di Barbera).
2) Prepare in advance a plate of thinly sliced (or use a Mandarin) vegetables of your choice, but they are best when baby vegetables are used from carrots, zucchini (long and round ones), asparagus, beets, hearts artichokes, lengths of onion, green beans, and anything else that is fresh, small and tender and in season. These should be lightly cooked in the white stock until tender but not too soft, then thinly sliced and refrigerated until needed. If they are laid out on a plate and covered, it will keep them fresh and easier to use.
3. Just before preparing the plate, season the vegetables with the wine vinegar, olive oil and a touch of ground pepper to taste and coat them thoroughly.
4) Form the eggplant caviar into whatever shape you desire (in the video chef Ronan uses a square) (For a faster, lighter version, you can also use half an roasted eggplant and stuff the shell with the eggplant caviar see below).
5. Carefully decorate the bed of caviar with the thin sliced vegetables making a cap all over of the vegetables and herbs. (see tutorial video)
6. Dress the plate with the honey/lemon vinaigrette and serve.
Chef Ronan "Personally, I choose local vegetables grown in the Riviera marinated in olive oil "Lessatini" as an antipasti. And I adorns everything from eggplant chips and pink garlic with it. The dressing is made to its level or tartness with a honey and some lemon juice. Ensure the freshness and quality of products focusing on those seasonal and regional. For my part, I use in my kitchen the products from Ventimiglia just over the border in Italy for their hardiness."
The Capunatina is a dish whose success lies in the seasoning and cooking each product separately to extract the essence which gives it so full taste.
* (Link to a recipe for caviar aubergine- a smoky tasting eggplant purée with a squirt of fresh lemon & some garlic)
** . . . and/or any other vegetables that are available in the market that you wish to include.
***In addition, chef Ronan uses edible flower petals, mint leaves, Italian parsley, baby beet leaves, verbena leaves and leaves and stalks from pole peas - all very small and tender.
**** (Fond(s) Blanc - white stock, is made by slowly cooking raw bones and white mirepoix. Chicken bones are the most common. Recipe link)
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