This classic Sicilian dish is best served on grilled bread at room temperature once flavors have had a chance to mingle.
2 large eggplants, chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons capers
8-10 green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried fennel
5-6 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
shaved parmesan, to taste
handful of flat-leaf parsley to garnish
2 slices of rustic bread
salt & pepper
1. In a large colander sprinkle salt on eggplant to coat and allow to drain for 1-2 hours. (If you don’t have time, you can continue with the recipe but the draining prevents the eggplant from taking in too much oil while cooking.) Rinse and pat dry.
2. Season eggplant with salt, pepper, oregano and fennel.
3. Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and sauté for about five minutes, stirring intermittently for an even cook.
4. When the eggplant’s golden brown, add the onions and sauté for another minute, until translucent.
5. Add garlic, capers, olives and vinegar and cook for 1-2 minutes until the vinegar evaporates.
6. Add tomatoes and turn heat down to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, drizzle rustic bread slices with olive oil and place in a grill pan over medium high heat. Press down with another pan or a filled tin can for weight and grill until both sides are crispy and golden brown. Take off the grill, move to serving platter and season with sea salt.
8. Once caponata has cooled, spread over grilled bread, garnish with parmesan and parsley if desired, slice in half and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Valerie Aikman-Smith. Green tomatoes are wonderful pickled and a great pantry staple to have on hand to brighten cheese boards and sandwiches. Seal in a selection of small or large jars.
This is our winter version of the classic Italian summertime appetizer. Make the tomato mixture the day before, and the toasted bread a few hours in advance. Just be sure to let the tomatoes come to room temperature before the party.