Grilled Caponata with Charred Bread

June 2007
Grilled Caponata with Charred Bread

by 3 people

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If you've got the grill going already, this makes a great side that's easy enough to throw together.

Makes: 4 servings

Prep: 30 mins

Cook: 40 mins

  • 2 sweet onions, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • Salt
  • 2 large eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
  • 2 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cup canned  diced tomatoes with roasted garlic
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, preferably nicoise
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 bunch  fresh basil, leaves thinly sliced and stems discarded
  • 1 baguette, halved lengthwise
  1. Build a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Soak three 12-inch bamboo skewers in hot water for 30 minutes.
  2. Thread the onion slices onto the skewers like lollipops, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, drizzle the eggplant and zucchini strips with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat.
  3. Place the zucchini, eggplant and onion on the grill, cover, and grill over direct medium heat until tender, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter to cool, then coarsely chop.
  4. In a deep, medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over direct medium-high heat. Add the celery, season with salt and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives, vinegar, capers and crushed red pepper, if using, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the zucchini, eggplant and onion to the tomato mixture and simmer until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt; set aside.
  6. Brush the cut sides of the baguette with olive oil and grill, covered, over indirect, medium-low heat until marks appear, 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and cut into 1-inch-thick slices. Serve alongside the caponata.
  • Get a good char on the vegetables and the bread by making sure you preheat the grill. To get the temperature under the lid to at least 350 degrees ., set gas burners to high or let charcoal burn until it's covered with white-gray ash.