Monday, 24 June 2013

Caponata


This is a great southern Italian appetizer. It is normally stewed eggplant, tomatoes, celery, vinegar, capers, olives, fresh basil and other herbs. I prefer to grill my eggplant and tomatoes for a bit of roasted flavour. It can be served hot or cold. I prefer it on toasted ciabatta or crostini and served warm with a drizzle of excellent olive oil. It is like jazzed up bruschetta.

You will need:
  • 1 medium eggplant- sliced
  • 4 plum tomatoes - sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil - I used an Italian Teraliva
  • 1 stalk celery - diced fine
  • 1/2 onion - diced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1/2 fresh chili or 1/2 tsp dry chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp capers - chopped
  • pinch sugar
  • 3 green olives - chopped fine
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • more oil to drizzle! 
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • ciabatta bread or baguette for crostini
  • Parmesan grated to top


Step 1: slice the eggplant and tomatoes into thick slices. 


Step 2: heat the grill to high and brush both the tomatoes and eggplant with olive oil. Grill for a few minutes so that the tomatoes do not lose their shape but get a bit of char on them. Cook the eggplant the same way. You will continue to cook the eggplant in a bit of olive oil in step 3, so it does not need to be cooked fully on the grill.


Step 3: chop eggplant into small dice and cook in 1-2 tbsp olive oil for 2-3 minutes until cooked completely and nicely coated in olive oil. Place eggplant in a medium sized bowl. Chop tomatoes into small dice and add to bowl along with eggplant. 

Step 4: in the same pan cook finely diced onion and celery, garlic and chilies in 2 tbsp olive oil. Cook 5-7 minutes until softened and just starting to brown. Add to eggplant and tomatoes.


Step 5: add vinegar, chopped capers, pinch of sugar, chopped olives, chopped basil, parsley and salt and pepper. Taste it and adjust if necessary.  I sometimes add a squeeze of lemon at this point if it needs something but, it is not required.


Step 6: slice some bread and toast first, then add your caponata.


I like to add a bit of Parmesan and broil for a minute or two to melt.


yum.














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