A traditional Sicilian appetizer with a twist, this Eggplant Caponatina Crostini makes for easy make-head entertaining and will wow your eaters with a savory and sweet flavor combo. Inspired by Mario Batali’s eggplant caponata at NYC’s Otto Enoteca & Pizzeria.
Guess who had off for a week and a half for Christmas vacation, went back to work for just one day, and then had a nice 3 day weekend thanks to a blizzard?
Yea, it was pretty fantastic (except for the fact that now since we used a snow day, our district calendar will now have to adjust by taking away a day from our Memorial Day extended weekend). But I’m not going to think about that right now.
Let me tell you how my lovely, unplanned snow day was enjoyed…
1) Asheley and I cleaned up Christmas. All of it. Trees (yup, we have 2 of those plastic buggers), ornaments, an excessive amount of seasonal candles, and all the other random tchotchkes… packed away for another year. We happen to have a few Christmas decorations with glitter on them. Asheley hates glitter, and of course she and the house was covered in it. She was freaking out, and I was thoroughly amused by it all.
2) I decided to clean out the freezer to see what lies beneath. I found a smoked brisket from the summer, some ground beef, and a whole lot of peppers from our CSA. Pair that with our ridiculously packed pantry, and I had all the makings for some chili. So I made my Fire Roasted Chili with Beer Braised Short Ribs, only I swapped out the short ribs with throwing in all that delicious smoked brisket. #win
3) Just as Asheley and I had to make our way outside to shovel her out (she did not have a snow day), 2 neighborhood kids knocked on the door to ask if they could shovel out our driveway for $10. $10?! Uhm, yes. These kids obviously need to improve their business model and start charging more. Don’t worry, I helped them out and threw them an Andrew Jackson.
Oh right, the eggplant caponatina. This is something I should have shared with you a long time ago. It’s something I make every single winter for a terrific little easy, make-ahead appetizer for dinner parties. It’s a recipe inspired by Mario Batali and his Eggplant Caponatina that he servest at Otto Enoteca and Pizzeria here in NYC.
I made it onto the appetizer menu for our family Christmas celebrations (yes, plural), and then again for my friends’ massive New Year’s Eve party.
People love this crostini. Even eggplant-fearing people. That’s eggplant?! they exclaim as pure shock takes over, realizing that they just actually enjoyed the very vegetable they have sworn off.
The flavors in this Sicilian caponatina, although traditional, are a bit unexpected for most of us. It’s an unlikely mix of characters. Eggplant. Cocoa powder. Tomato. Cinnamon. Balsamic Vinegar. Currants. Pine Nuts. I know, it doesn’t really sound like it should work. But it does. Trust me. It’s pretty darn amazing, actually.
This recipe is going to make a whole lot of caponatina, which is perfect if you need an appetizer to feed a whole bunch of people. And it makes for easy, make-ahead entertaining, too 🙂Print