Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Eggplant caponata with gypsy peppers

I've raved and raved about the modernized eggplant caponata at Beretta before and even shared my interpretation of their dish. Compared to traditional Sicilian eggplant caponata, the one at Beretta is made with cooked vegetables that still have a bite and other ingredients, like tomatoes, scallions, and parsley, that are left in a raw form.

Traditional eggplant caponata is cooked for a longer period so that the vegetables and other ingredients are softer but still more or less intact. Last month, we had a beautiful dinner at the beloved A16 and shared roasted eggplant with gypsy peppers agrodolce with a killer funghi pizza. Although it was not eggplant caponata per se, the dish at A16 reminded me of a traditional eggplant caponata and took me back to many, many wonderful meals shared at an old Chicago favorite, Quartinos.

You can imagine my delight when I found Japanese eggplant and gypsy peppers in my CSA box the following week! I was on a mission to create variation of eggplant caponata inspired by the flavors at A16.

Eggplant caponata is savory, sour, and particularly good the next day, serve at room temperature.  Eat with lavash or any bread (it makes a wonderful bruschetta topping), or add it on top of your favorite pizza, like we did at A16. Wonderfully delicious!

Other eggplant recipes you might enjoy include:
Eggplant Caponata with Gypsy Peppers

2 lb Japanese eggplants, halved and sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 medium onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
14 oz can of whole tomatoes with sauce, diced
olive oil
4 gypsy peppers, quartered lengthwise, sliced crosswise
2 heaped tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
6 olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3 tbsp parsley, very finely chopped
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 425.

Toss gypsy peppers and plangent with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20 min, tossing midway.

Heat oil in medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Add onions, cooking until soft and translucent, about 7-8 minutes, then add garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and the sauce/juices and cook for a few minutes, then add red wine vinegar and cook for a few minutes. Reduce heat to low, stir in capers and olives, simmer for a few minutes. Add roasted eggplant and peppers, salt, and crushed red pepper. Cook for a few minutes,  then add chopped parsley.  If serving soon, transfer to serving bowl, let cool, and top with pine nuts. Otherwise, allow to cool to room temperature, cover and chill overnight. Serve at room temperature.

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