Grilled Caponata – A New Twist with Deep Flavor!
From the Mediterranean area – Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant relish or eggplant salad typically served room temperature.
I’m seriously grilling lately – so I have turned one of my favorite dishes into a grilled spectacular Italian dish.
Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant relish or eggplant salad typically served room temperature.
This vegetarian feast has a great depth of flavor – satisfying & healthy loaded with antioxidants and lycopene (from the tomatoes.)
Grilling intensifies the vegetable’s flavor and you will use less oil in the preparation. Eggplants are like sponges which love to soak up lots of oil.
As you brush them with olive oil on the grill, they will cook perfectly.. not too much needed!
A quite simple recipe: Salt tomatoes and eggplant – then grill with the other vegetables all until golden and tender. Dice them up and add to a tomato stew (from your grilled tomatoes) with seasonings. Add all the veggies and cook for just 5 minutes to blend all the flavors.
Caponata is an Italian dish from Sicily – consisting of chopped fried eggplant (melanzane) and other vegetables, seasoned with olive oil, tomatoes, celery, olives, and capers.
Similar to another popular dish ~ Ratatouille, from the French region of Provence yet Caponata adds briny olives, tangy vinegar, salty capers, a touch of sugar and pine nuts… a sweet and sour essence.
It is believed that the dish is derived from the Catalan word caponada, meaning a similar kind of relish, and says it first appears in a Sicilian etymology of 1709.
Once prepared, you can also eat it cold as a salad, as a dip, as a fabulous side dish, as a main meal or an appetizer on bread or crostini.
Use as a condiment too, stir into warm pasta or grains… I love to eat it cold out of the refrigerator with a fork right out of the bowl… it’s that good!
Graffiti eggplant, sometimes called Sicilian eggplant, is a wonderful variety coming to markets between summer and fall.
It gets its name from its purple and white stripes – actually quite pretty! What is wonderful about it is it contains less seeds, does not need to be salted, and has a sweet taste.
Ingredients I have Used:
Italian Globe Eggplant, Large Tomatoes, Onion, Zucchini (green & yellow), Celery, Bell Pepper (I chose an orange one), Garlic, EVOO, Red Wine Vinegar, Tomato Paste, Green Olives, Large Capers, Dried & Fresh Oregano, Pine Nuts and a Pure Cane Sugar.
Enjoy this Sicilian Specialty!
I love my twist on it – hope you will too!
Grilled Caponata - A New Twist with Deep Flavor!
- 1 large globe eggplant 2 pounds
- 4 large red tomatoes 2 pounds
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (large grain) divided
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 large onion peeled
- 2 large ribs celery peeled
- 1 large bell pepper I chose an orange one
- 2 medium zucchini one green, one yellow
- 2 very large garlic cloves or 5 medium sized; do not peel
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup green olives pitted; large chop
- 3 tablespoons large sized capers
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste I use Mutti brand
- 2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts lightly toasted
Grill the vegetables:
- Cut the eggplant across into 1 inch slices. On a cutting board salt both sides with 1 teaspoon kosher salt - lay on a paper towel lined tray for 20 minutes (until the bitter waters are drawn out.)
- Cut the tomatoes in half lenghwise. Add them to a paper towel lined tray for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt on cut side. Heat grill to medium-high, about 375 degrees.
- Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a small dish. Pat eggplant dry, removing any salt.Brush eggplant on both sides with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place on grill and cook until golden underneath. Turn over with tongs and cook on the second side until golden, softened and cooked through. Add to a large plate. While eggplant cooks - add tomatoes to the grill - cut side down using a vegetable grill rack underneath (so the veggies do not fall through.) Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook until very golden, turn over with a spatula and cook on the second side until the tomatoes have softened, and the peels loosen - about 5 minutes total time. Add to the plate.
- Cut the celery ribs in half. Cut the bell pepper into 8 long even sized strips. Cut the onion into 4 even sized circles. Cut zucchini in half lenthwise. Brush the vegetables lightly with 1 tablespoon olive oil and grill these 4 vegetables and the unpeeled garlic cloves on the grill using a grill mat over medium- high heat.Cook the celery only on one side for 3 minutes - remove to a large plate (celery should be crunchy.)Cook the rest on the first side until golden, turn over and grill until a touch golden, cooked through but not too soft. Remove to a large plate.
Finish the Caponata:
- Cut all the vegetables into 3/4 inch cubes - cut smaller if you wish. Remove garlic skins and give garlic a rough chop. Remove the skins and most of the seeds from the tomatoes - reserve any juices.Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a heavy, non reative pot (I use a enamel coated cast iron.)Raise heat to medium, when hot add the tomatoes and cook stirring from time to time, about 5 minutes. Add any tomato juices, up to 1/4 cup - the garlic and dried oregano. Stir in, then add the olives and capers; stir one minute.Add the tomato paste, vinegar, sugar and pepper. Stir one minute.Add ALL remaining vegetables, stir to combine and cover. Cook over low heat just 5 minutes to blend all the flavors. Taste for salt - add 1/4 teaspoon if needed. Remove from heat, add the fresh oregano; stir in. Serve with a srinkle of toasted pine nuts and garnish with basil or oregano leaves.
- Cool the caponata and refrigerate. Typically it is eaten at room temperature - but some like it cold, or warm.