Recipe: Roasted Red Beet, Red Pepper & Eggplant Relish/Caponata

I want to share with you my version of an Italian style relish called caponata. Traditionally caponata is a Sicilian dish that is made with eggplant, celery, capers in a sweet (sugar) and sour (vinegar) “sauce”.  There are many different variations out there.  Some add olives.  Some include carrots.  You may even find pine nuts and raisins.  What makes this version special is the natural sweetness that the red bell peppers add to the dish.  And, of course, the real star of the dish is the roasted beets.  WOW!  The flavor of the roasted beets is very concentrated.  They are sugary and earthy and an awesome addition to my version of caponata.  I hope you try this recipe at your next informal BBQ or elegant dinner party.  Enjoy!

Roasted Red Beet, Red Pepper & Eggplant Relish/Caponata

• 6 small red beets
• 2 Italian eggplant, small dice
• 2 red bell peppers, small dice
• ¼ cup fresh mint, minced
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.  In a large bowl toss the beets with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place the beets on a half sheet pan and roast them in the oven for about 45 minutes or until they can be easily pierced with a knife.
2. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Add the diced eggplant and cook for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft.  Place the eggplant into a large bowl.
3. In the same skillet, add 2 more tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Then add the diced peppers and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft.  Put the peppers into the bowl.
4. Once the beets are roasted, let them cool until you can handle them.  Once cool, peel the beets.  Dice the beets into small cubes.  Add the diced beets to the bowl.
5. Add the minced mint, ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper to the bowl.  Stir together.  Let the flavors meld together for at least 10 minutes.  Serve.  Buon Appetito!


Living to eat,
Tony Mangia


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