As winter is approaching and I’m starting to save money for the holiday madness, I’ve been spending a lot of time cooking at home. I really enjoy my nights, relaxing with a glass of wine and spending time with my family as we talk about our days and prepare a meal.
Caponata is something we have been making a lot recently, it’s a perfect side dish (or in my eyes, the perfect main dish) for any meal. A medley of eggplant, fire roasted peppers, slow roasted tomatoes, charred onions and capers, this dish is bright, elegant, healthy and really easy to prepare!
You will need:
3 red or yellow peppers
4 japanese eggplant
4 fresh tomatoes
1 yellow onion
1/4 cup of capers
3 table spoons of sherry vinaigre
salt and pepper
Start with by turning the oven on to 350. Slice the tomatoes as you would for a sandwich then salt and pepper them with a touch of olive oil. Lay the sliced tomatoes on a Silpat and roast them in the oven for 1-2 hours. You will know they are ready when the edges start to crisp up and the tomatoes have released about half of their juice.
While the tomatoes are roasting you can prep the other items. I love using my comal for everything and onions are especially amazing when cooked on this cast iron pan. The onions should be cooked slowly on a medium to low heat. You want to cook them until they become translucent and soft.
After cooking the onions, turn up the heat on the comal for the peppers. If you don’t happen to have a comal, you can char them with the oven on broil. Once the peppers are cooked, peel off the burnt pieces and chop them into small to medium-sized pieces. Do not worry if you miss a few burn pieces, it’ll add a nice flavor to the dish but you don’t want too much.
Take about 1/4 cup of capers and soak them in a bowl of water. Capers are very salty and soaking them will keep the flavor but take away some of the salt. About an hour into roasting the tomatoes, slice 4 eggplant and roast them on a sheet tray facing down. There is no need to salt or pepper them at this point. Roast them for about 25 minutes or until tender. Once they are soft, us a spoon to scoop out the insides and discard the skins.
While you’re waiting for those pesky, slow roasting tomatoes, get yourself ready to go by mixing chopped onions, capers and eggplant in a bowl. Once the tomatoes are finished, give the a quick rough chop toss them in.
Season the dish with salt, pepper and about a table-spoon of sherry vinaigrette…and voila: Capponata! A great addition to a meal or a meal on its own.