“Deconstructed Caponata” and Feta Baked with Peperoncini

I’d heard, seen and read the term caponata across numerous foodie media outlets for years now. If, however, you sat me down all this time and asked just what a traditional caponata is, I’d inevitably bite my lip and mutter a deflated “ummmm.”

It wasn’t until I clicked on Foodalogue the other day and thoroughly read Joan’s post, that it was finally cemented into my stubbornbrain just what a real caponata is comprised of. Case in point: I made these eggplant rolls nearly a week before reading Joan’s recipe and only when I’d finished perusing her musings on Sicilian caponata had I realized I had used the basic ingredients of an actual caponata … only in a very different way.

And since I’d secretly like to be considered quite trendy and hip, I’ll now label these bites “Deconstructed Caponata.” I served this, ehem, Deconstructed  Caponata to my husband last week, presented it to him straight from the ”photo set” (our dining room table)–he thought it was quite special by the way.  Along with some Feta baked with peperoncini and some freshly baked bread it was a light dinner perfect for the season. I know, I know. It’s summer. It’s hot. Eat light … so on and so forth. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, so I will spare you the rhetoric. But, cliche or not, I will say this: these little eggplant rolls were summer on a plate.

“Deconstructed Caponata”

1 large eggplant, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Handful of parsley, finely chopped
3 tablespoons capers
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arrange the sliced eggplant in a colander over a bowl or in the sink, sprinkle with plenty of salt and let the eggplant drain for at least 1/2 hour.

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, red onion, garlic, capers, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for up to 2 hours.

Pat the eggplant slices dry with a paper towel then brush with olive oil and grill on a barbecue over very hot coals or on a griddle/grill pan over very high heat until fork tender. Remove eggplant from the grill and let cool. Sprinkle the parsley over the tomato mixture and adjust seasonings. Arrange the eggplant slices on a cutting board and place one heaping teaspoonful of tomato mixture on one end. Begin rolling the eggplant slices and carefully place each roll on a platter or tray. 

Serve the eggplant rolls with good-quality anchovy fillets marinated in olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes, baked Feta (recipe below) and fresh bread.

Feta Baked with Peperoncini

Good-quality Feta
Peperoncini , one left whole and remaining chopped
Dried Greek oregano
Olive oil

Place the Feta in a baking dish. Sprinkle the chopped peperoncini around the Feta, top with a hefty pinch of oregano and a splash of olive oil. Place the whole peperoncini on top and bake the Feta in a 375-degree oven, about 20 to 25 minutes, until Feta is golden and gooey. Let cool slightly and serve.

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15 Responses to ““Deconstructed Caponata” and Feta Baked with Peperoncini”

  1. alison says:

    wow,your pics make me drooling!wonderful post!

  2. Rosa says:

    A very good idea! Sunshine in the plate!



  3. Joan Nova says:

    I love this, especially for summer. It has a lighter feel than the more traditional caponata and with the baked feta and crusty bread…yum!
    P.S. Thanks for mentioning FOODalogue. I was surprised.

  4. I’ve read recipes for a number of versions of caponata and am a little confused too…maybe it comes down to regional variations? Joan’s version is lovely and so is this “twist” Maria…more than summer on a plate..more like the Mediterranean!

  5. Ivy says:

    Caponata is new to me, so I will have to google search and find more about this recipe. Your recipe sounds like a great mezes.

  6. Anna A. says:

    Your deconstructed caponata is SO HOT RIGHT NOW :) And I was just wondering about peperoncinis and feta. Why hasn’t anyone made a peperonciniopita? I nominate you :) Maybe for the the winter when we’re not so bikini friendly?

  7. maria says:

    the first few aubergines have just come out of our garden – i have to make this

  8. Cherine says:

    The deconstructed caponata looks awesome!!

  9. Erica says:

    This is such a great idea! Your pictures made my day… not to mention the thoughts of serving this…. Thanks so much.

  10. nina says:

    There is not a single element in this post that I not absolutely adore….Love all of it, wish I could tuck right in!!

  11. Peter says:

    A fine “two-fer-one” post, Maria. Wrapping things in eggplant and the ideas are endless. Here’s to more summer grillin!

  12. Major says:

    I added you to my rss reader

  13. that certainly looks like summer…love the look of the baked feta too.

  14. I love there rolls, they are indeed summer on a plate Maria. The combination are perfect, with the aubergine and the feta. I can hear my stomach rumbling.

  15. I love de-constructed anything. I must try this with courgettes!!!!!!!! Stunning and I’ll be honest, its only since I moved to a country with seasons that I’ve seen people eat differently!

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