Roasted Vegetable Caponata with Pita Crisps

1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup dry red wine
3 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 large red onions, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup olive oil
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 cup kalamata olives, drained, pitted and sliced
1 jar (51/2 ounces) pitted spanish olives
1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
crackers, bread, or pita crisps
Pita Crisps
10 (5 inch to 6 inch) pita pockets
3/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
kosher salt, to taste

Place the raisins in a small saucepan and cover with the wine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes. Set the mixture aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Brush the eggplant and onion slices with olive oil and place in separate roasting pans. The vegetables can overlap a bit. Roast the vegetables in the oven, turning once, until they are soft and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool until easy to handle.

Meanwhile, drain the juice from the tomatoes into a large mixing bowl. Stir the raisin mixture into the juice. Chop the tomatoes and add along with the capers, olives and jalapeno chile.

Chop the roasted eggplant and onion into coarse chunks and add them to the tomato mixture. Add the vinegar, basil and parsley and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Cover and let the mixture mellow overnight in the refrigerator. Note: the caponata will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Before serving taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed with crackers, bread, or Pita Crisps.

Yield: 6 cups

Pita Crisps

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a sharp knife, halve the pitas horizontally. Stir together the olive oil and paprika. Brush the rough sides of the pitas with the paprika oil and season with salt.

Cut each pita into 8 wedges and bake in single layers on a large baking sheet in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes or until crisp. Cool and serve. Note: the pita crisps can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and stored in sealable plastic bags at room temperature.

Yield: about 13 dozen crisps




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