There are some recipes that can easily elicit an OMG feeling. One such recipe is Lina’s Baked Eggplant Caponata. With just one bite, you’re hooked.
Consider for a moment the versatility of the eggplant. Grilled, roasted, broiled, baked, stir-fried, stewed, stuffed, fried, or even pureed; there’s a reason why the eggplant is so widely used in Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. I am positive that as far as Italian cuisine is concerned, one of the most popular eggplant dishes is melanzane alla parmigiana or eggplant parmesan. I’ll be sure to post that one a little later in the summer.
But for now, I’d like to share with you this Baked Eggplant Caponata which is simultaneously sweet and savoury. If I had to chose between having one main dish or just grazing my way through a few appetizers, I would definitely choose appetizers. And as far as appetizers go, Lina’s Baked Eggplant Caponata is a keeper. I’ve already shared with you a tomato basil bruschetta which is extremely easy to make. You’ll see that this recipe is just as simple and tasty.
It all begins with roasting strips of eggplant in equal parts of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey; a few pine nuts and capers and you are all set. Once that’s done, let the flavors blend overnight in the fridge, and that’s it. See, I told you that this was easy. It’s just perfect on a toasted baguette, on pasta, in a sandwich or wrap… I’ve even eaten it alongside a steak. Versatility and simplicity at its best!
Origins of the recipe for Lina’s Baked Eggplant Caponata:
Who is Lina? Well, Lina is my beautiful little sister. I cannot even begin to sing her praises. Suffice to say that I have nothing but respect and total admiration for this wonderful person who happens to be my sister…how lucky am I?
We recently had a little family get-together at my sister’s house. And as usual, everything my sister made was out of this world. Did I mention that she is a professional chef and has her own restaurant? My mom’s passion for cooking and baking had such a positive effect on her kids! (Yes, that includes my brother who is a great “home” chef. Blink twice if you’re being held captive, you say. ;))
Ok, enough family business and back to the real business of food. As I was saying, Lina’s Baked Eggplant Caponata is simply amazing. I would like to mention that this is not a classic caponata as that recipe will usually include tomatoes. Nevertheless, I really cannot think of any other words to do this recipe justice. You absolutley need to try this, guareenteed crowd pleaser. Enjoy!
- 1 medium-large eggplant
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon capers (well rinsed)
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove outer peel from eggplant.
- Cut lengthwise and then cut into strips. (about ¼" strips)
- Sprinkle eggplant strips with salt.
- Transfer to colander and let drain for about 1 hour.
- In the meanwhile, whisk together equal parts of olive oil, honey and balsamic vinegar.
- Add capers and pine nuts and set aside.
- Try to squeeze as much as the liquid as possible from the eggplant.
- In a baking dish combine the eggplant and the mixture.
- Cover dish and bake at 350 ° F for about 45-60 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. (Stir mixture every 10 minutes or so.)
- Remove cover and continue to bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Feel free to add garlic, olives, even cherry tomatoes...make it your own and enjoy, like my sister did!
Thanks for dropping by.
Ciao for now!