Roast Eggplant Caponata
Have on hand
2 medium, or 1 large eggplant, sliced into ½ inch slices lengthwise
1 medium onion, medium dice
1 fennel, bulb, medium dice
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large red, yellow, or orange pepper, cored, medium dice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cored, and chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers, rough chopped
¼ cup green olives, pitted and rough chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
extra-virgin olive oil – to taste
Parmesano Reggiano, optional
Preheat the oven to 400F
Using a large sheet-pan, layered with parchment paper, lay the eggplant in one layer, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake until nicely colored, 12 to 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, dice. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, sauté the onions in 3 tablespoons olive oil until soft and starting to brown, approximately 8 minutes. Also, add the cumin, and red pepper flakes, then stir to combine. Next, add the garlic, and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium, then add the fennel, and red peppers. Add a good drizzle of olive oil if it looks too dry. The olive oil is key to a good Caponata. Cook until beginning to soften. Next, add the tomatoes, capers, olives, vinegar, and chopped eggplant. Season to taste. Cook until sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
Serve in a bowl with a garnish of parsley, with a drizzle of olive oil. Then, using a vegetable peeler, peel over some long strips of Parmesan. Enjoy!
*Leftover Caponata works beautifully with crostini, as an appetizer (see below), with pasta as an entree, or with eggs for a delicious breakfast.
(Optional) While the caponata is cooking, thinly slice a baguette on an angle, into 1/3 inch slices, and layer evenly on a foil lined sheet-pan, season lightly with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and a nice drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Toast until lightly browned, flip and continue to cook one additional minute. Remove and set aside to cool. Serve the caponata with the crostini on the side.