It's unusually snowy at my house this February, which makes me all the more jealous when someone says, "Hey, guess what? We're moving to the VIRGIN ISLANDS!" Seriously? That is some kind of luck! That is just what happened to Dave, of My Year on the Grill, or more importantly, to Dave's wife Jackie, who scored a job down there!! Dave is the lucky s.o.b. who gets to tag along!!!
You best be wearing your speedo, Dave, this is going to be a doozy! Oh, and you'll need your blender, and little umbrellas, and it goes without saying, your grill.
The closest I can get to the Islands is my cookbook, The Beach House Cookbook, in which there are fabulous recipes for mouth-watering seafood, the likes of which can't be found in this god-forsaken desert. (Wait. I love it here. I love it here. I love it here. Okay, deep breath. Ahhh.)
Given the lack of fresh OR frozen seafood in this gorgeous snow-covered desert, I chose a dish which would go well with a nice slab of fish, and, because I'm sure Dave will have the grill fired up and ready, guess what? It's GRILLED.
I'm so ready for a tour of Dave & Jackie's apartment, minutes from the beach, and can't wait to feel the sand between my toes and see the blue water stretching into the horizon...this is going to be a PAR-TAY, and my Grilled Caponata on Homemade Crostini is going to go over very well. I think I might stop by the market on my way and pick up some fresh fish to grill with my Margarita Marinade!
Of course, it wouldn't a party without booze, so I'm also bringing all the ingredients for my Famous Piña Coladas. Enjoy!!
Visit OuR KrAzy kItChEn to see what everyone else brought to the party!
Back to business, I actually baked the onions about 5 minutes longer to soften them more. I used my grill pan over medium-high heat, and just grilled until I had nice marks on each slice (much longer than the 5 minutes in the recipe).
Man, did my kitchen smell good, and I don't even really like eggplant! (but I always think I should, hence trying this recipe). Plus, did you see those fabulous eggplants Dave & Jackie saw at the Farmer's Market in St. Thomas?? I bet I know what he'll be picking up next time it's open!
Aside from all the chopping, this recipe is fairly easy, and since it needs to sit for 6 to 8 hours can sit for up to a week, it is perfect for my make-ahead repertoire.
This caponata was wonderful, smoky and sweet, and perfectly complimented by my homemade Artisan Crostini.
Hope you like it!
Serves 12; Makes about 6 cups
3 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 large red onions, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 cup olive oil for brushing
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup red wine
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice reserved (*I totally cheated, and used two cans of diced tomatoes!*)
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, drained, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Homemade crostini, pita crisps, crackers or bread for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Let the coals heat until medium-hot, so they are covered with a light coating of ash and glow deep red. (I'll let Dave handle that part).
2. Generously brush the eggplant and onion slices with olive oil and arrange on separate baking sheets. Roast in the oven, turning once, until soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Transfer the eggplant and onions to the grill and cook until nicely browned, turning often, about 5 minutes total cooking time. Set aside to cool. Note: our grill is on its last legs, so I just used our grill pan for the grilling.
4. Put the raisins in a small saucepan and cover with the wine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes. Set aside and allow the raisins to plump.
5. Put the tomatoes and their juice into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the raisins and wine, capers, olives and vinegar. Chop the grilled eggplant and onions into small pieces and add to the tomato mixture. Toss well to combine.
Add the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let the mixture mellow for 6 to 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. The caponata will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week.
6. Before serving, taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Serve at room temperature with crostini, pita crisps, crackers or bread.