Caponata (Vegetable Appetizer)
- 2 small Italian eggplants, cut into 1" cubes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1" cubes
- 1 small red onion, cut into 1" cubes
- 3 Roma tomatoes, quartered
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp capers
- 12 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp pinenuts, toasted
- fresh parsley to garnish
Layer the eggplant cubes in a colander. Sprinkle each layer with salt as you go. Leave the eggplant to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain on paper towel, squeezing the eggplant if necessary to remove all the water.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Combine the eggplant, red pepper, onion and tomatoes in a large bowl
Mix the olive oil and minced garlic in a small bowl. Pour over the vegetable mixture and toss to coat all the vegetables. Place the vegetables on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes, turning occasionally until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Pulse the vegetables in a food processor 3 or 4 times to chop roughly. Spoon into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the sugar into the balsamic vinegar until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the vegetables along with the capers, olives and chopped rosemary. Stir together lightly. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with pine nuts and garnish with a sprig of parsley.
Serve with pita toast or baguette rounds.