Roasted eggplant Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant (aubergine) dish consisting of a cooked vegetable salad made from chopped fried eggplant and celery seasoned with sweetened vinegar, with capers in a sweet and sour sauce. I first encountered it years ago in one of my favorite Italian restaurants where it was served, on the table before the meal, with lots of different tasting dishes. I loved it and have learned to make it at home.
Ina Garten’s recipe is my favorite.
- 1 eggplant
- 2 red peppers (or 1 jar roasted red peppers)
- 1 head garlic
- 1/2 c. assorted pitted olives (i used less because yuck)
- 1 small onion – diced
- 2 T. tomato paste
- 3-4 parsley stems with leaves attached
- 1 lemon
- splash red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- olive oil for roasting
- 1 T. butter
To prep the vegetables
- Add the whole clove of garlic (no need to oil or skin it) in the oven. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes.
- While the garlic is roasting, poke holes in the eggplant with a fork, rub with oil, and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the skin because soft and wrinkly. When ready, discard the skin and chop into large chunks.
- If you are not using jarred roasted red peppers, rub each pepper with oil and set over a flame (grill or gas stove) until each side is charred black. Place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 5 minutes. Peel and discard the skin, chop to remove flesh from the seeds and stem.
- Add about a tablespoon of oil and butter to a saute pan. Once hot, add the onions and cook on low for 15-20 minutes until caramelized.
To make the Caponata
- Add the roasted eggplant chunks, roasted red peppers, and olives to a food processor. Pulse.
- Squeeze in a few cloves of roasted garlic, sauteed onions, fresh parlsey leaves, a squeeze of lemon, tomato paste, and a splash of red wine vinegar. Pulse twice. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with basil if desired.
- Serve with grilled pieces of pita bread. Enjoy!
- Notes – You can also add a 1/4 c. toasted pine nuts! Prepping the vegetables the night before makes this much easier.
By Ina Garten