I wanted to make caponata, but I wanted to shake up the recipe a bit. To continue my mission to create Smidge Healthier recipes, the first change I wanted to make was to roast the vegetables instead of sauteeing them in oil. The second change I wanted to make was to use Indian Spices.
I just finished listening to The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read this book, please give yourself a treat. Every page of this story is filled with the love of family, friends, and place. It is also filled with love for the foods and spices of India. I could smell these spices as I listened to the story of the extraordinary women in this family. One of the main characters is Maryam. So what follows is what would happen if Luca from Sicily fell in love with Maryam from India.
TIME TO PUT ON YOUR APRON!
ROASTED EGGPLANT CAPONATA
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 thin zucchini
- 1 very large roasted pepper
- 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
- 1 cup of thinly sliced leeks
- 1 heaping tablespoon of Don Emilio hot spicy garlic, onion & chili pepper condiment
- 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons of chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons of capers, drained
- 1 cup of tomato curry (recipe to follow)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Chop the eggplant, zucchini, pepper and leeks into bite sized pieces and place in a sheet pan
- Combine the olive oil with the Don Emilio condiment
- Pour over the vegetables and roast for approximately 45 minutes
- Remove from the sheet pan and add the capers, olives, basil and curry sauce
- stir in the pine nuts and serve garnishing with additional basil
Tomato Curry Condiment
- 4-5 fresh tomatoes
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 2-3 chili peppers (adjust according to your preferred spice level)
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
- 7-8 curry leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Wash and finely chop the fresh tomatoes. Set them aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the black mustard seeds to the hot oil. Let them sizzle for a few seconds until they start to pop.
- Next, add the curry leaves to the pan and sauté them for about 30 seconds until they become fragrant.
- Add the chopped chili peppers to the pan and sauté them along with the curry leaves for another minute or so.
- Now, add the finely chopped tomatoes to the pan and stir well.
- Add the salt, turmeric powder, and fenugreek powder to the pan. Mix everything together.
- Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down and the flavors meld together.
- After 15-20 minutes, the mixture should have thickened slightly. At this point, add the sugar to the pan.
- Stir well to combine all the ingredients and continue cooking for another 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and incorporated into the mixture.
- Taste the condiment and adjust the seasonings according to your preference. You can add more salt, sugar, or chili peppers if desired.
- Allow the condiment to cool down completely, then transfer it to a clean, airtight jar or container.
- Store the condiment in the refrigerator, where it should stay fresh for about 1-2 weeks.
This tangy and spicy condiment is versatile and can be used to enhance the flavors of various dishes. It goes well with rice, sandwiches, or even as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!
COOKS NOTE: Although this may seem daunting because of the long list of ingredients, if you make the curry condiment a day earlier, the caponata comes together quickly. And, after you taste the curry condiment, you will agree it is worth the effort.
If your preference is for a more traditional caponata recipe, here is a link for a caponata recipe I learned in Sicily –