Need an appetizer that will leave them wanting more? Try these Eggplant Caponata Crostinis with toasted pine nuts. Full of complex flavors that do not disappoint.
What you'll need for eggplant caponata
Okay, there's a lot here but it'll be worth it. Vegetable wise we used:
- yellow squash
- bell peppers: red, orange, and yellow
- roma tomatoes
For the other flavorings that we build in the sauce we have:
- toasted pine nuts
- tomato paste
- golden olives
- chili flake
- kalamata olives
- sherry vinegar
Remove the cores
Start by removing the cores from the yellow squash, roma tomatoes, and eggplant. For the yellow squash and eggplant you can simply run your chef knife down the sides and remove the core.
For the roma tomatoes work your knife around the tomato's core, you'll be left with a long strip of tomato.
Dice your ingredients
Its best to prep all your ingredients before moving on to the sauté. Keep the dice small for the bell peppers, celery, yellow squash, and tomatoes, even smaller for the garlic. You can dice the eggplant slightly larger.
Toast the pine nuts
You can either toast the pine nuts in a sauté pan like we did here or roast them in the oven, either works great. For the pan method, dry roast them in a sauté pan on medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. With the pan method it is important to keep the nuts moving at all times so they toast evenly.
If you prefer the oven method, add the pine nuts onto a sheet tray and put into a 400°F oven for 4-6 minutes until golden brown.
Either way, toasting them adds a whole lot of flavor to the eggplant caponata crostinis.
Sauté the vegetables
Now, unless you have a very large pan we're going to have to sauté the vegetables in batches. We started with the eggplant.
Add oil to a hot pan and add in the eggplant. You can always add more oil if the pan gets too dry, a lot of oil will get sucked up by the eggplant. We also want to season as we go, so add some salt and pepper to each batch.
We want the vegetables to still have their color and have a little bite, we're looking for al dente here. Once the eggplant is al dente, set it to the side, add more oil to the pan, and add in the celery and yellow squash.
Follow the same process for the bell peppers.
With the all the vegetables sautéed and set aside we can move on to building a lot of flavors in this final sauté batch of tomatoes.
Start with a little oil and add in the roma tomatoes and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute (until garlic becomes fragrant) before adding the chili flake, kalamata olives, capers, golden raisins, and tomato paste. Make sure the tomato paste hits the bottom of the pan so some of the canned flavor will cook off.
Next add in the sherry vinegar and water to create a sauce. Simmer the mixture down until you have a nice sauce consistency.
Add the vegetables back in
Now we can add the sautéed vegetables and toasted pine nuts back into the pan to combine with all those flavors we just built. This is where we'll also add in our fresh mint.
Always taste for seasoning level and adjust if needed. If the Caponata looks too dry you can always add in a little water and if it is too saucy just continue to reduce. This is the consistency we're looking for and will make for the perfect eggplant caponata crostini bite.
How do i serve it?
honestly i could just eat this by the spoonful and be perfectly content but crostini makes for a great delivery system for your guests.
Add a tablespoon's worth of the caponata to the crostini. You could let your guests just scoop it out of the bowl but its also easy enough to just make 25-30 servings and set them out to simply be picked up, no mess.
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These eggplant Caponata crostinis with toasted pine nuts are a delicious one bite appetizer. Perfect for dinner/holiday parties.
- 1 small eggplant, diced
- 1 each yellow, orange, red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow squash, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ teaspoon red chile flake
- ¼ cup kalamata olives
- ¼ cup capers
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 to 2 cups water
- ¼ cup mint leaves, torn
- Dice bell peppers.
- Remove the core from the eggplant, yellow squash, and roma tomatoes. Discard the cores and dice.
- Add oil to a hot pan and sauté all vegetables in batches (unless you have a big sauté pan). You are looking for color but keep vegetables al dente.
- When sauté is ready, add roma tomatoes, garlic, chile flake, Kalamata olives, capers, golden raisins and tomato paste. Make sure the tomato paste hits the bottom of the pan so some of the canned taste cooks out. Cook for less than a minute (until you smell garlic).
- Next add sherry vinegar and water to create a sauce. Reduce to sauce consistency.
- Check seasoning and consistency. You can always add more water if too much was reduced.
- Finish with torn mint leaves.
- Serve with homemade or store bought crostini and top with some Parmigiano Reggiano
- There's a lot of vegetables and sautéing here. You don't want to overcrowd the pan so unless you have a very large sauté pan its best to go in batches so you can clear the pan. We started with the eggplant, then moved on to celery and yellow squash, and finally the bell peppers.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 25