Today I am going to be making eggplant caponata. This is something that I have been wanting to make for a long time. This reminds me of the years I worked in Italian restaraunts, and will be a favorite dip, appetiser, or snack. It is really easy to make as well!
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In a dry and hot cast iron skillet on medium high dry toast the pine nuts, when they start to brown remove and set aside.
Add a tablespoon of the cooking olive oil and when hot add the red onion. Saute until it starts to be translucent, add the celery and cook a few minutes more. Next add the bell peppers and saute a couple minutes. Add garlic and cook until the garlic gets translucent. Remove from heat and place in a large pot.
Put a tablespoon of the cooking oil in the cast iron skillet and cook the tomatoes until they are broken down, add in the large pot. Clean out and dry the cast iron skillet and add a few tablespoons of oil in the skillet. When the oil is hot fry the eggplant, you will have to do this in a few batches. Cook until they are soft and brown. Place in the pot.
Set the cast iron skillet aside and put the pot on the heat. Add the salt, red pepper flakes, and ground black pepper. Mix well. Let the ingredients cook for a few minutes, Next add the olives and red wine vinegar. Cook for three minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the basil, 2 tablespoons of the pine nuts, and the capers. Cook another two minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool on the stove for 20 minutes, then place in the refrigerator and let cool overnight.
The next day, put your oven on the broil setting, while the oven is heating up take the baguette and slice diagonally (or slice a loaf). Place a few tablespoons of your high quality extra virgin olive oil on a plate and lightly dip the bread in the oil. Place on a baking pan and toast in the hot oven until just golden brown.
Serve the eggplant caponata on a plate or in a bowl and garnish with the remaining basil and pine nuts. Place on the toasted bread and eat!