Time: 50 minutes. Caponata, a sweet, tangy Sicilian eggplant-pepper relish, tastes downright addictive spooned over toasts with mild, creamy ricotta cheese.
1 loaf (1 lb.) crusty Italian bread such as ciabatta, cut into 1/3-in.-thick slices
About 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-in. dice (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped green olives
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup ricotta cheese
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°. Lay bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with about 2 tbsp. oil. Bake until toasted and light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook eggplant, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, cook garlic in remaining 2 tbsp. oil, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add celery, bell pepper, and olives, stirring to combine, and cook until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup water, the vinegar, tomato paste, raisins, and pine nuts and cook until heated through. Stir in reserved eggplant, salt, and sugar, then mix in herbs.
Serve caponata with ricotta on the toasted bread.
Make ahead: Chill caponata up to 2 days and store toasts airtight up to 2 days.
I'm pretty sure there are occasions when garlic should be toasted in olive oil rather than added at the end. However I also added my spin to this delicious concoction by substituting balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar, and hazelnuts for pine nuts, then adding chopped mushrooms in the saute, and green onions at the end.
Ok, I just made my own spin on this. Did not like the order of cooking. Diced and tossed my Chinese eggplant in lemon juice, salt, sugar and pepper. Sautéed onions in lemon and garlic oils, with kosher salt and sugar. Once carmelized added the eggplant and small red, orange and yellow peppers. You want to always add fresh garlic towards the end. Not in the beginning. I added fresh lemon rind, garlic and store bought lemon grass. Then added fresh lemon basil from my garden, oregano and the tomatoe paste. Along with some red wine vinager and sweet balsamic from Napa and some raisens. Toss in the green olives and or both them and Kalamati olives and some capers.. After toast your pine nuts. Then toast your bread. Top with ricotta, then bruschetta and some motzerrala, with pine nuts on top so they don't get soggy. That's my take!
Eat Well. Lose Weight. Live Healthy. Delicious and healthy recipes customized for you!