Caponata is one of those classic eggplant dishes that once eaten, is never forgotten. Our delicious agro-dolce version of this traditional antipasto is a wonderful addition to any summer BBQ. It is delicious either spread over grilled bread bruschetta-style, or as a tasty accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken. It is very easy to make too. I usually use one of those large Italian eggplants that are big as babies, but a couple of smaller ones will do just fine. An added plus is that aside being so tasty this dish is loaded with healthy oils and all the phytonutrients that eggplant, celery and tomatoes literally bring to the table. Try it.
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (See Ann’s Tip)
- Put 1 tbsp olive oil into a bowl and quickly toss the eggplant in it to coat. The oil will take patchily to the eggplant. Drizzle an extra 1-2 teaspoons of oil onto the prepared baking sheet. Tip on the eggplant and spread out into a single layer. Roast on a high shelf until golden for about 20-25 minutes turning after about 10 minutes. Set aside in the pan.
- Meanwhile place the celery in a small pan and add the boiling water. Cook over a high flame until just tender but still crisp about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in a sauté pan over a medium high flame. When it ripples, add the onion. Cook stirring from time to time until it is transparent and starting to color, about 5-8 minutes. Add the tomato concentrate and cook stirring 1 minute or until it just starts to caramelize. Add the celery and its cook water. Stir to mix. Add the capers, olives, and sundried tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes.
- Add the roasted eggplant, vinegar and sugar to taste. Stir to mix. Lower the flame to medium and cook partially covered for 5 minutes. Completely cover and turn off the heat. Leave to cool. Serve at room temperature.
Ann's Tips and Tricks
I like to preheat the lined baking sheet in the oven to give the eggplant a good start.
If you can’t find a good large Italian eggplant 2 medium ones will do. Although I don’t do this when I roast eggplant, if you like, after you have diced the eggplant, lightly salt it and leave it to drain in a colander. You’ll be amazed at how much liquid comes out.
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