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ROASTED EGGPLANT CAPONATA


A Southern Sicilian version on the classic tomato Bruschetta evolves with such harmonious roasted, toasted and nutty flavors of vegetables and pine nuts that I had to share yet another one of my favorite small bites with you. I like to say this dish is similar to ratatouille only with the intense added flavors of sun-dried tomatoes, capers and green olives that sing out loud such delicious bold and flavorful tones. I like to serve it room temperature (not cold) atop of lightly toasted crostini's because I love how the ingredients blend together nicely and give me a warm, comforting happiness.


This dish is ideal as a starter or appetizer for a main course of roasted lemon chicken or a garlic studded leg of lamb. Or if you're like me you can have it as a main course with a beautiful frisee, Persian cucumber, feta salad or just a clean arugula salad with a lemon and top grade extra virgin olive oil drizzle.


RECIPE:

1 eggplant, small cubed and roasted

1 Tb. sun-dried tomato, chopped

1 zucchini, small cubed

1 Lb. roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

4oz jarred roasted red pepper, chopped

1/3 c. green olives, pitted and chopped

1 Tb. minced garlic

2 Tb. pine nuts, toasted

1 Tb. capers, drained

1 small white onion, chopped

1 Tb. fresh parsley, chopped

3 Tb. sherry vinegar

2 Tb. fresh oregano, chopped

EVO (extra virgin olive oil)

sea salt and pepper to taste


METHOD:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the eggplant into small cubes and using a lined baking sheet, spray with olive oil and place the eggplant onto the baking sheet and roast for 10-15 min, until lightly charred and softened.


In a large sauté pan, heat the EVO over medium heat and add the onions and zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions soften about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook together for another minute, add a little more EVO and then add the roasted red peppers and eggplant. Cook until tender about 5-6 minutes until all ingredients smell fragrant and are tender. Season to taste. Add the tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives and vinegar. Cook together for 20 minutes until all ingredients are tender and the mixture begins to thicken. Adjust the seasoning. Remove from heat and fold in the parsley, fresh oregano and toasted pine nuts. Allow to cool before serving on toasted crostini's, toasted flatbread and toasted pita.


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