Every Sicilian grandmother has a recipe for caponata – some calling for as much as a cup of olive oil. While this recipe certainly doesn’t skimp on the oil, it relies more on spicy red pepper, fresh herbs, and raw garlic to provide bold flavor. Rather than a traditional chunky, relish-y caponata, this one is more like a spread, due to the roasted eggplant. It’s delicious on crusty bread or with rice.
Spicy Eggplant Caponata [Vegan]
6 as an appetizer
- 1 1/2 pounds eggplant (1 large)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, inner stalks, diced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups Pomi chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (make sure your vinegar is gluten-free if you are gluten-sensitive)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Pinch cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme (optional but good)
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
- 8 chopped pitted kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup minced roasted red peppers (optional)
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 3 tablespoons golden raisins, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score once or twice with a knife (not hitting the skin.) Roast face down on a baking sheet, covered with foil and sprayed with oil, until tender – about 20 minutes. Let drain in a colander for 10 minutes, cut side down. Scoop the eggplant out of the skin and chop coarsely.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onion, celery and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, cinnamon and sugar and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the remaining oil, eggplant, capers, red peppers, olives, pine nuts, raisins and parsley and cook for 5 minutes more. Add garlic. Season to taste. Cool to room temperature.