This is a roasted eggplant caponata that we used as an appetizer last night when we had friends over for dinner. It is an old Italian favorite our Brooklyn Italian Grandmother told me. Although she had never made it, she told me that it was her sister-in-law’s specialty, so the pressure was on when I announced that I was going to make it. There were a couple of questions about the recipe (“What, no celery?” and “She never used pine nuts.”), but the end result from Notorious B.I.G. was a huge thumbs up. To me, that meant this eggplant recipe was a keeper. It is one of those make ahead recipes because the longer you hold off on serving it, the more time the flavors have to mix and meld together. You can absolutely make this a day ahead and keep it in the refrigerator until time to serve. I served it along with some plain and multi-grain pita chips, but use your imagination. Since it is a dip, we could have used regular chips, bagel chips, vegetables to accompany it. It’s really up to what you are in the mood for when you serve it. Try this recipe…the flavors are incredible together and by the empty container that was there at the end of the night, it was a hit. As well, remember that it comes with the Notorious B.I.G.’s seal of approval. Here’s how you make it.
- 1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds)
- Olive oil
- 4 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1/2 cup large green olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 large cloves minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons minced parsley
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place the whole eggplant on the pan, prick with a fork in several places (you don’t want an exploding eggplant in your oven) and rub with olive oil.
Roast for 50 minutes, until the eggplant is very soft when pierced with a knife. Set aside to cool.
Halve the eggplant, peel, and discard the skin. Place the eggplant, peppers and olives in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Pour into a mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the onion is lightly browned. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, and add to the eggplant mixture.
Add the parsley, pine nuts, lemon juice, capers, tomato paste, vinegar, salt and pepper and mix. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop. Taste for seasonings and serve at room temperature.
It’s great having friends over for dinner and even better when you can serve them something new and delicious. Our roasted eggplant caponata did just that. It was the perfect start to a fun evening. Well, the eggplant and a few glasses of wine were the start to a fun evening. You get my drift. Give it a try. What do you like to serve as an appetizer at your dinner parties?