We're always looking for a great party appetizer we can prep in advance, and this recipe is perfect for that. Here, we cook down eggplant with tomato before tossing it in a tangy mixture of vinegar, capers, olives, herbs and golden raisins. It's a way to savor the best of summer all atop crispy crostini.
Bake off the crostini ahead of time and mix up the caponata, too. When it's go time, either take out the caponata in advance to serve at room temperature or heat it up in a saucepan until warmed through. Then, you just have to scoop and garnish, and you're ready to party.
To learn more, read “Veg Out.”
Eggplant Caponata Crostini
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus 1 hour draining time
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes, plus 1 hour draining time
1½ pounds (1 medium) eggplant, cut into ½-inch dice
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons minced green olives
1 tablespoon caper brine
1 baguette, cut on a bias into ½-inch slices (at least 24 slices)
¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon, olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ medium yellow onion, minced
1 medium heirloom tomato, cored and cut into ½-inch dice
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced basil
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Shaved ricotta salata, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with 1 tablespoon of salt to coat. Transfer to a colander and place over the large bowl to let drain for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, raisins, capers, olives and brine, then set aside.
3. On a sheet tray, lay out the baguette slices and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toast in the oven until golden and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool.
4. Once the eggplant has sat for an hour, heat the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions, and cook until softened, with the edges beginning to brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
5. Add the eggplant and the tomato, and cook until the eggplant is tender, another 5 to 6 minutes. Add the vinegar mixture with the pine nuts, parsley, basil, thyme, honey and lemon zest, and toss to combine, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
6. Season with salt, then remove from the heat. Scoop 2 tablespoons of the caponata onto each crostino, garnish with thyme leaves and ricotta salata, then serve.