This appetizer of fried eggplant with peppers, onions, and garlic has been a staple of Sicilian cuisine for centuries; there are as many variations of this dish as their are kitchens in Sicily. I learned to make it from a chef in Ortigia and he was adamant about the proper ingredients. I have modified the recipe to include some of my favorite products, but have provided substitutions.
- 3/4 cup Marino Family Sicilian Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, don’t skimp, you might need more
- 2 eggplants, medium diced
- 1 onion, medium diced
- 1 red bell pepper, medium diced
- 1 green bell pepper, medium diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, medium diced
- 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup golden raisins, roughly chopped (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3-4 tablespoons capers
- 3 tablespoons Ritrovo Selections Tomato Balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey or sugar
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pinch red pepper flakes such as Michele Ferrante Controne Pepper (optional)
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Heat about 1/2 of the olive oil (to start) in a large pot. Add the eggplant and onion. Cook for about 10 minutes uncovered. The eggplant should start to release the moisture and begin to brown. Stir as needed.
- Add in all of the bell peppers, tomatoes, raisins (if using), garlic, and capers. Stir to combine and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and stir, then cook uncovered for another 15-20 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
- Stir in vinegar and honey (or sugar) and cook for a few minutes more.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the pine nuts and fresh basil and parsley.
Add red pepper flakes salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and a little Parmesan cheese. Serve hot or at room temperature with bread, chicken or fish. For a vegetarian meal option, try it with panelle (chickpea fritters).