Warm, stewy eggplant and tomatoes with Sicilian flavors served beside crispy polenta wedges — summer doesn't get much better than this. Try getting a bite of polenta with every forkful of caponata for a delicious contrast of tastes and textures. The polenta can be made the day before and these wedges are a great way to use up any leftover cooked polenta.

Eggplant Caponata With Grilled Polenta [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Serves

4-6

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 firm medium-sized eggplants, cut into large chunks
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves removed and set aside, stalks finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and drained
  • Large handful green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 5-6 medium Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • Slivered almonds, to serve
  • 1 cup quick cooking fine polenta
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • Sea salt

Preparation

To Make the Grilled Polenta:

  1. Bring 3 1/2 cups of salted water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add in 1 cup of fine grain quick cooking polenta, whisking continuously to avoid clumps. Reduce heat down to lowest setting, and stir polenta as it begins to thicken. This should only take a few minutes.
  2. Spread the cooked polenta into a baking dish greased with olive oil and set aside to let cool. The longer you let cool to easier it will be to grill.
  3. Once cooled, sliced into squares or triangles and brush with olive oil. Grill on a hot grill pan or barbecue for a few minutes on each side, until charred and crispy.

To Make the Caponata:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add in chopped eggplant. Season with salt and stir so the eggplant is coated in oil, adding more olive if it seems a bit dry. Cook on high for 5-10 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the eggplant are golden brown on all sides and starting to soften.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and parsley stems, and continue to cook on high for a few more minutes, until everything is soft and smelling amazing. Then add the capers, olives, and vinegar and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and you’ve scraped off any bits stuck to the bottom. Now add in the tomatoes and reduce heat.
  3. Simmer for 15 minutes, or longer, until everything is stewy and soft.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Before serving drizzle with a little extra olive oil, and sprinkle with lots of fresh chopped parsley leaves and slivered almonds. Serve warm or at room temperature with grilled polenta wedges.

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