AmazingRibs.com is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

Grilling Takes Eggplant Caponata To New Heights

Share on:
eggplant peeled

Italian eggplant caponata gets a lift from the smokiness created by grilling all the ingredients

Caponata is a traditional eggplant based recipe especially popular in southern Italy. It is served as a sandwich, as an appetizer on rounds of a crusty fresh bread, on crackers, as a sauce on grilled seafood, on grilled pork chops or chicken, on pasta, and even on pizza. Italian eggplant caponata is usually made in a pan or pot, but grilling the ingredients adds a layer of complexity. Once you have the concept, you can riff on it. Alone, this is a great vegetarian grilling option, though some recipes incorporate squid, octopus, shrimp, or fish.

This recipe was inspired by a traditional indoor recipe from my wife’s niece Maria Scheuler. She served me my first taste of this wonderful relish which she makes by sautéeing the veggies, chopped first, in oil in her Dutch oven rather than grilling.

Grilled Italian Eggplant Caponata Recipe


eggplant caponata
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
2.69 from 19 votes
Caponata can be made as a vegetarian dish or made with fish.

Course:
Appetizer
,
Dinner
,
Lunch
,
Main Course
,
Side Dish
,
Vegetable
Cuisine:
Italian

Makes:

Servings: 3 cups (236.6 ml)

Takes:

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup oil cured green olives
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 large eggplant, about 8" (20.3 cm) long (about 1 1/2 pounds (680.3 g))
  • 1 zucchini, about 6" (15.2 cm) long (about 3/4 pounds (340.2 g))
  • 1 medium sweet red bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 6 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Morton Coarse Kosher Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoon inexpensive balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 12 fresh basil leaves or 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • Salt to taste
Notes:
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Prep. Remove the pits from the olives and chop into 1/4-inch chunks. Set aside. Put the pine nuts into a dry frying pan over medium heat and toast them until they get some color. Be careful not to burn them. Set aside.
  • Prep some more. Cut the eggplant and zucchini into 1-inch slices, discarding the ends. Peel the onion and leave the ends on. Cut in half. Remove the leaves from the celery and clean it well. Save the leaves for another dish such as, they are an underestimated herb. Cut the bell pepper in half and remove the stem and seeds. Put them all in a big bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, pour in about 3 tablespoons olive oil (about half the amount in the recipe).
  • Fire up. Prepare a grill for medium high direct heat cooking. Place the eggplant, onion, zucchini, celery, and bell pepper on the grill. Cook the until the eggplant and zucchini are starting to brown on both sides, until the onions get some grill marks, and until the celery begins to get flexible. Remove from heat.
  • Simmer. In a large frying pan or Dutch oven, pour in 3 tablespoons of olive oil to cover the base of the pan with a thin layer. Warm to medium high. Mince or press the garlic, stir it in and let it cook until it is soft but not brown, about 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Mix in everything else except the pine nuts and fresh basil (if you are using dried basil, add it now). Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thick, about 30 minutes.
  • Serve. Chop the basil, add it to the pot, stir in the toasted pine nuts, and season to taste. You can serve it warm, spooned on slices of baguette, or cool, and chill for a few hours or overnight.

Related articles

Published On: 8/22/2012 Last Modified: 7/9/2022

Share on:
  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

 

High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club. But please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get MANY great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Click for comments...

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs


The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One


The Good-One Open Range is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.

Click here to read our complete review

 

Comprehensive Temperature Magnet With 80+ Important Temps

Amazingribs.com temperature magnet
Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.

Click here to order.


The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


Napoleon’s 22″ Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22″ Pro Cart a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special


Compact Powerful Sear Machine For Your Next Tailgater


Char-Broil’s Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you’re off to the party! Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order


Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

Fireboard Labs Product Photo Shoot. Kansas City Commercial Portrait and Wedding Photographers ©Kevin Ashley Photography

With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.
Click here to read our detailed review


Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners

3 burner gas grill

The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review


Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

Green Mountain Grills Trek smoker

Green Mountain Grills Trek smoker

Green Mountain’s portable Trek Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it’s also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Trek from your smart phone or laptop.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order