Monday, August 7, 2017

Caponata Turns Grilled Cheese to Another Level

Caponata is a sweet and sour Sicilian adaptation of ratatouille, the classic stewed vegetable dish that comes from the French region of Provence. The versatile flavors in Caponata intensify with age, so it’s good to prepare it a day or two in advance. This flavorful dish is a tasty and unique accompaniment to poached eggs, scrambled eggs, and steak sandwiches. But for the ultimate flavor experience, include it in your next grilled cheese sandwich for a really memorable taste-treat. 

1 medium eggplant, unpeeled, cut into ½-inch slices
Olive oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
½ cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons small capers

1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
Several grindings of fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1.     Preheat oven to 500°F.
2.     Arrange the eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush both sides of the eggplant with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until fork-tender, turning eggplant slices halfway through cooking time. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, cut into small chunks.
3.     In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the celery, onion, and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped tomato, tomato sauce, vinegar, olives, capers, sugar, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the eggplant and parsley.
4.     Allow the Caponata to cool before covering. Refrigerate overnight. Serve Caponata at room temperature.