caponata panzanella

pin it!pin it!pin it!
I know, more panzanella. And another dish with a trillion vowels and syllables. I had the idea for this in my mind last week and could not let it go, couldn’t let it wait until next summer. Caponata is this irresistibly rustic Sicilian eggplant  and tomato stew/condiment that comes together with some minor rough chopping and simmering. It brings out the meatiness of the eggplant to the point of serious questioning sometimes. There are wonderful salty bits, cooked out summer-tomato juices, a scatter of parsley leaves that have barely been grazed by the knife. Sweet, sour, salty–perfect on any and all toasts once it’s cooled, maybe with some charcuterie and cheeses if that’s your thing. I thought I could cut to the chase and just throw the toast component right in there, mix it up real simple with another dose of olive oil, bursts of fresh tomato and even more grassy, peppery parsley. That thought was correct. So correct.

There is a pre-fall cool blowing through town, so I didn’t mind flipping the oven on to make the croutons while I sipped some tea and hung out by the stove. I donned a sweatshirt on my morning run today and marvelled at the pace of the clouds drifting on by while the whoooosh in my ears never ended. I have plans for soups, cookies and hella roasted summer squash next week. The pup shivers a little bit when we try to enjoy a little coffee/tea break outside and requires snuggling (OBV). My jorts preferences have faded to actual jeans-wearing. Maybe this isn’t so much the same where you live (especially on those jorts). Tuck the thought of this hearty salad into your back pocket for September if that’s the case. So simple, wonderful and lightly warming. Doubling the caponata for other uses/eating straight from the pan still-warm is a fine idea too.

So with that, I’m just going to keep it short today. This is my favourite time of year, this micro/in-between season of bright, cool and dry days. Maybe a little summery thunderstorm here and there. It tends to make me a touch sentimental while giving a clear focus for what’s ahead at the same time. Renewed purpose, eyes up to the moon, creativity and inspiration is everywhere you could find it. It’s a generous time in my corner of the world. Hope you’re all wrapping yourselves up in it too :) xo

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!
caponata panzanella salad recipe
serves: 4-6
notes: It’s pretty crucial to cook the eggplant until it’s way tender, like a solid 15 minute simmer. Also, there’s a lot of salty bits in the caponata so maybe taste the finished product before you season the whole thing.

caponata ingredients:
big glug of olive oil
1 large eggplant, chopped into big pieces
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 small red onion, small dice
1 clove of garlic, rough chopped
big splash of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp capers
handful of green olives, pitted + rough chopped
2-ish cups diced fresh tomatoes
salt and pepper
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

panzanella ingredients:
4 cups torn up bread pieces
olive oil
salt + pepper
handful of small tomatoes, halved
more chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the pieces of eggplant and oregano. Stir the pieces around to coat them in the oil and herb. Stir the pot here and there until the eggplant is browned on all sides. Add the red onions and garlic to the pot. Stir it up a bit, adding a bit more olive oil if necessary to avoid sticking. Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the red wine vinegar. Scrape the bottom of the pan and stir the mix until the vinegar has evaporated. Add the capers, olives and tomatoes to the pot and stir. Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the eggplant is tender and the tomatoes have let out a bit of juice. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, season to taste, and set aside to cool.

Place the bread pieces on the parchment lined sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Slide the tray into the oven and bake until golden brown on all sides, about 12-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Set aside to cool.

Combine the caponata with the croutons, stirring gently until just combined. Garnish the salad with a healthy drizzle of more olive oil, the halved tomatoes and extra parsley. I also like to scatter the crouton crumb-y bits left on the pan over the top of the salad for more crunch.

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  • Harriet15/08/2013 - 4:56 am

    Wow! This dish is seriously resonating with some tomato vibes I’ve got happening this week – definitely going to the top of my to make list when the eggplants come into season here in Australia! And the salt-hound in me loves the olives and capers!ReplyCancel

  • Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche15/08/2013 - 5:40 am

    This is a fantastic idea! And a great way to turn caponata into a full meal. Your photos are gorgeous too :)ReplyCancel

  • Johanna15/08/2013 - 8:21 am

    This looks delicious! I can’t say I knew what caponata or panzanella was before actually looking at this, but now I’m convinced I need to make this :) You always have such great recipes.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf15/08/2013 - 8:26 am

    It’s cold here in the UK but I’m not ready to admit the end of summer yet! I’ll hold onto this recipe for autumn though, it looks gorgeously fresh and full of beautiful flavours.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Barnaby15/08/2013 - 9:09 am

    Thank you for reminding me about Panzanella! I haven’t made it in yonks but it will be perfect for a dinner party I’m hosting this Saturday. I loved your photos too. I hope mine looks as pretty as yours.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley15/08/2013 - 9:33 am

    Your optimistic words are refreshing and always make my day. And this recipe? Showstopper (OBV).ReplyCancel

  • Heidi @foodiecrush15/08/2013 - 10:18 am

    Thankfully for us you didn’t let that idea escape your head, what a stellar combo. But then I’d eat anything with capers in it. Beauty.ReplyCancel

  • fashionablecollections15/08/2013 - 11:10 am

    wow this looks INCREDIBLE.ReplyCancel

  • Shanna15/08/2013 - 1:01 pm

    You can never have too much panzanella! Love this!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley15/08/2013 - 1:25 pm

    Seriously cannot wait to make this!! You have the best recipes, stories, pictures EVER! Thank you for an amazing blog to read :)
    ~AshleyReplyCancel

  • Kathryn15/08/2013 - 1:36 pm

    This is a magical kind of dish, just absolutely perfect for this time of the year. I can’t think of anything I want to eat more.ReplyCancel

  • Eileen15/08/2013 - 2:11 pm

    Hey, there’s nothing wrong with another panzanella–especially when it’s as beautiful as this one! Roasted eggplant and tomato sounds so good right about now. :)ReplyCancel

  • Big wow, this looks truly amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Steph @ This Chick Eats Clean16/08/2013 - 12:01 am

    Holy cheese and rice!!! Or should I say, holy panzanella! This looks ahhhmazing and I can’t wait to give it a shot! And your photography is gorgeous!
    xo, This ChickReplyCancel

  • What a gorgeous looking panzanella. Sounds delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Jeanine16/08/2013 - 10:46 am

    yum! I love caponata and panzanella, genius idea to combine them!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey16/08/2013 - 3:45 pm

    Ahhh! This makes me want to go back to Sicily so bad! I have what felt like 100 different versions of caponata there – some more salty, some sweet. The combination of caponata + panzanella is brilliant! Also, that is helluvalotta vowels. xoReplyCancel

  • Emma16/08/2013 - 4:44 pm

    Caponata and panzanella are 2 of the most fabulous things! I have an Italian friend who makes a simply incredible caponata- I keep meaning to ask him how he makes it. I bet the hearty, crunchy bread is the perfect foil to the melting aubergine and rich tomato base here.ReplyCancel

  • Adri16/08/2013 - 8:12 pm

    What gorgeous photos, and what a wonderful dish! Complimenti1ReplyCancel

  • Angharad16/08/2013 - 9:18 pm

    We just made this for dinner and it was an absolute delight! Our caponata was a bit more liquidy because our tomatoes were just that juicy but adding uncooked tomatoes at the end was a genius fix for that.

    We added in some fresh basil too, just because we had it, and garlic. And then proceeded to wolf the whole thing down! Delicious.ReplyCancel

  • HolliDe16/08/2013 - 10:29 pm

    I am soooo glad that I found this fab recipe today. How could you go wrong with both of those mixed together? I subbed 4 Japanese Eggplant for 1 large one and toasted an olive oil/rosemary rustic loaf for the bread part. It was out of this world; we finished the entire platter!ReplyCancel

  • Abby16/08/2013 - 11:48 pm

    these photographs are absolute perfection. so, so gorgeous… wow. i adore ALL your work but the first photo in this post? and the third one…
    seriously incredible!!ReplyCancel

  • Juliette17/08/2013 - 3:56 am

    This looks very tasty! Enjoy the first chilly days!

    JulietteReplyCancel

  • Valeria17/08/2013 - 4:06 am

    Uh, caponata -love! You didn’t dare frying the eggplant for the caponata – I almost never do, too, I have to say, as I live in the smallest tiny flat and couldn’t cope with the smell of it. I find it works nicely without frying the eggplant as well, but oh gosh, the Sicilian oily real-deal thing is something I die for.
    I really like this combo – a bit of Sicily and a bit of Tuscany revisited and mixed into such a lovely dish. It has been moderately warm here in London but evenings are fresh and the oven on is more than welcomed.ReplyCancel

  • Julia18/08/2013 - 9:03 am

    brilliant post. brilliant panzanella. thx:)ReplyCancel

  • sarah18/08/2013 - 9:51 am

    ‘It’s a generous time in my corner of the world.’ – Love that. I feel the same – it was cool here for over a week, and that ‘just before fall’ feeling is lovely! Fall is my favorite time of year, and while I hate to rush the end of summer, I don’t mind the cooler temps. I always feel more creative/inspired, too. Your panzanella is beautiful! Another good idea for dinner tonight. :)ReplyCancel

  • Amy S21/08/2013 - 8:32 pm

    Serious goodness. We made this on Sunday with the eggplant, red onion and super sweet grape tomatoes in our bushel this week. Fantastic, enjoyed every bite, and will put it in the “make often” category when eggplants are plentiful.ReplyCancel

  • Amrita22/08/2013 - 2:03 pm

    Seriously?

    With your food photography, I feel like walking away from my computer screen, turning back around, and taking a running jump to dive right into the screen so I’d land smack-dab on your food. Face first and spread-eagle.

    Total bliss.ReplyCancel

  • menningen liên24/08/2013 - 5:21 pm

    thank you for this refreshing vegetables “bouquet”of garden, we feel the earth, love of cooking, tasty and delicious, life and love of sharing, thank you again and have a good day, liênReplyCancel

  • Kathryne29/08/2013 - 3:17 pm

    What Amrita said!ReplyCancel

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