eggplant caponata appetizer
I am often asked for a recipe for an “appetizer that’s healthy”. I created this one based on the basic ingredients from one of my favorite casual eateries in San Francisco, the Delarosa. Here I used French picholine olives and purple basil for vibrant color.
1 small eggplant (about 2 ½ cups) cut into ½ inch cubes
½ cup yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, slivered
2 stalks celery ¼ cup grapeseed or avocado oil
2 tablespoons green olives-pitted and rough chopped
1 tablespoon capers
¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, rough chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, slivered
1 tablespoon toasted pinenuts
2 tablespoons Braggs apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
4-5 ounces of fresh burata cheese * see chefs note
toasted sliced baguette for serving
Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant, onion, celery and garlic. Sauté until eggplant is soft and brown, about 10 minutes. Add olives, capers and ¼ cup of water, simmer 5 minutes. Add the apple cider vinegar. Mix in parsley. Transfer caponata to serving bowl or as pictured here a small cast iron dish. Cut the buratta cheese into three pieces. The center will be soft so handle carefully. Place on top of the caponata. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with slivered basil and toasted pine nuts. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serve with sliced baguette or whole grain pitta bread.
Caponata can be made two days ahead. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. It’s great for melting!