Caponata is a lovely Italian side dish of sautéed vegetables, olives and capers which I love to make this time of year. Most of the veggies for this recipe are quite abundant right now, and can be found fresh at your local farmer’s market or in your own backyard garden, if you have one.
I love growing eggplants, but I have to say that my first attempt to prepare eggplant was a disaster – it was so bitter! I have since learned that if you salt and drain the slices or diced pieces in a colander for about an hour it helps alleviate the bitterness. I also find that the Japanese eggplants are far less bitter, so that is what I used for this recipe.
Since I did not have too many eggplants to use for this recipe, I also added some zucchini, which I had in my garden as well. Zucchini has a similar consistency as eggplant, and they go well together.
Pictured is my breakfast of Caponata and hard-boiled eggs with toasted Italian bread. The balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes add just the right touch of flavor and heat. You can serve this warm or cold, as a dip for toast or crackers, or you could serve it over fish or on top of scrambled eggs. Yum!
Roasted Eggplant Caponata
- 1 Egg Plant (I used several small Japanese eggplants)
- 2 Small to Medium Zucchini
- 1 Green Pepper
- 2 Tomatoes
- 1 Medium Onion
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- ½ Cup Greek Olives – chopped
- Pine Nuts
- Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)
- Black Pepper
- Olive Oil
Chop the eggplants and zucchini into half-inch cubes. Place the eggplant cubes in a colander and sprinkle salt over them and allow to drain for about 30 minutes. Chop the green peppers and tomatoes into larger pieces. Place the veggies on a baking sheet (do not rinse the eggplant) lined with parchment paper or foil, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a 400° oven till they start to brown and become soft, about 15 minutes.
Remove the veggies from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. I removed the skin from the tomatoes after they had cooled a little. Chop the roasted green peppers and tomatoes into small pieces. Finely chop the onion and garlic and set aside. Dry roast a handful of the Pine Nuts in a small frying pan and set aside.
In a large frying pan add olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant and continue to sauté´ for a few more minutes. Chop the Greek olives and a few tablespoons of capers and add to the pan. Add the Balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, red pepper flakes and black pepper and continue to sauté´. During the last few minutes add the roasted pine nuts and sauté for a few more minutes.
Serve warm on toasted French bread. Can be also served cold on crackers as an appetizer, or serve with scrambled eggs for breakfast or over seafood or chicken.