The other night we were going to a friends 40th birthday party that was also a blind IPA tasting. How fun is that!?! They said there would be heavy apps and such and all we needed to do is bring beer for the tasting. Well, I immediately started thinking about what I could bring food-wise. It was definitely going to need to be healthy since pretty much everyone there were competitive runners (The Asheville Ponies). I also wanted to utilize all the great vegetables that are coming up in our garden. It really didn’t take much brain storming to land on Sicilian Caponata. Basically the Italian version of a ratatouille. There’s eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, capers and olives in it. It’s the capers and olives that set it apart from it’s sister recipe, ratatouille.
The same time I was coming up with the caponata as a good party appetizer, I was also in the middle of writing an article about turning your grill into an outdoor kitchen. I had a lightbulb moment and decided to grill my veggies for the caponata! I mean, grilling makes everything better, right?
A couple notes on this recipe and why it’s awesome!
Make Ahead: The veggies are marinating with the olive oil, red wine vinegar and their own juices. If you are also looking to take this to a party or making it for your own healthy part, make it a day ahead. It’s aslo great to have on hand all week because it’s so versatile.
Versatility: You can use it as a dip with pita chips or grilled bread slices. You can also top grilled meats with it or toss in some pasta. It’s a way outside the box type of batch cooking cooking recipe.
Recovery Snack: Toast a piece of bread, spread some caponata on it, poach an egg and assemble!
And real quickly: If you don’t have a grill, roast the eggplant. Then you’ll want to sauté the other veggies until tender, along with the tomatoes (chopped). Combine everything after the eggplant is cooked and simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow everything to marry. Let cool.
Grilled Sicilian Caponata
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 tomatoes
- 1/4 cup minced Sicilian olives
- 2 tablespoon capers
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Turn your grill onto high.
- Slice your eggplant and red onion into 1/2 inch rounds. Then you'll want to cut the bell pepper into 4 pieces. Keep the tomatoes whole. Toss all the vegetables with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt. Place on the grill.
- Depending on your grill it should take around 5-7 minutes for one side of all the vegetables to get a bit charred. Flip over - this included the whole tomatoes. Grill for another 5-7 minutes and remove.
- I do a rough chop with my chef knife, but you could easily do a quick few pulses in a food processor. Add in the capers, olives, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Mix, taste and adjust the salt. You may not need to add anymore since it needs to marinate overnight (if you have time).
- Serve with pita chips. bread or pasta.