This satisfying spread is good to have on hand when guests arrive on Friday evening. Serve at room temperature with crackers and bread.
Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2006
Preheat oven to 450°.
Split eggplant in half lengthwise. Place eggplant, cut sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until eggplant is tender and cut sides are browned. Remove from oven; cool completely. Using a fork, carefully remove flesh of eggplant from skin. Discard skin; finely chop flesh, and place in a bowl.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots and garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in figs, 1/2 cup water, vinegar, 1 tablespoon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon juice, pine nuts, and parsley.
Wine Note: Oak-aged Chardonnay is tricky to pair with food, but the Eggplant and Fig Caponata is perfect with the wine's rich flavors. The toasted nuts and figs in the dish are echoed in many barrel-aged Chardonnays, like the toasty, spicy Voyager Estate Chardonnay 2004 ($22) from West Australia. This cool-climate wine also offers plenty of citrus and melon, along with bright acidity. -Jeffery Lindenmuth
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