on Jun 13, 2019, Updated Jul 08, 2023
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An appetizer and main dish in one, you can transform grilled caponata with just a few additional elements like crusty bread, grains and pasta.
The best kinds of recipes are the ones where you end up with a dish you can eat in multiple ways.
I love anything that can go from an appetizer to a salad to a main with just a few additional elements.
It’s the best feeling when you can get extra mileage out of your leftovers without being stuck with the same version for consecutive meals.
Caponata is a traditional Sicilian dish that’s a combination of eggplant, tomatoes, olives and onions. It can be served hot or cold and is thought of as a starter, side or relish.
Ratatouille and caponata are similar except caponata combines sweet and sour flavors because of the additions of vinegar and sugar.
Instead of making mine on the stovetop, I went outside for grilled caponata.
Eggplant is wonderful when it’s kind of smoky. That’s why I thought of the grill.
How To Make Grilled Caponata
I started by slicing the eggplant, tomatoes and onions into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.
For more aromatics, I included a couple celery stalks and tossed all the veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper.
I lined grates from front to back and side to side with vegetables.
Once they had grill marks, I let the veggies sit for a few minutes till they were cool enough to handle.
Then I diced the eggplant, onions and celery. After that I chopped the tomatoes.
In a stovetop caponata, you add tomato paste and sauce. The grilled tomatoes fell apart as I chopped them and became kind of saucy .
I stirred in white wine vinegar, red pepper flakes for heat, salt and pepper.
The tomatoes were sweet enough on their own, so I felt no reason to add sugar.
I ate the caponata so many different ways. It was great spooned on baguette slices. I even folded it into quinoa.
And obviously, I had to use grilled caponata as a pasta sauce.Next time I might whip up a double batch.
When you have that many different options to serve a certain leftover, you want it to last a bit longer.
- 1 medium red onion cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 1 medium eggplant cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 5 medium tomatoes sliced 1/4-inch-thick
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped pitted green olives
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat.
- Toss the onions, eggplant, tomatoes and celery in olive oil. Grill the vegetables until they are tender and charred with grill marks: 4 minutes per side for red onions, 3 minutes per side for eggplant, tomatoes and celery.
- Give the vegetables a few minutes rest until they are cool enough to handle. Dice the onions, eggplant and celery and transfer to a large bowl.
- Roughly chop the tomatoes until they become the consistency of a chunky sauce. Add to the rest of the vegetables.
- Stir in the remaining olive oil, garlic, olives, white wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
- Serve as an appetizer with crusty bread, as a sauce for pasta or stir into your favorite grain.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.