Roasted Eggplant Caponata

1 1/4 Pounds Of Eggplant Peeled And Cut Lengthwise Into About 3/4 Inch Slices

A Medium Tomato Cut Into 3/4 Inch Slices

A Small Red Pepper Left Whole

A Tablespoon Of Finely Chopped Celery

A Tablespoon Of Finely Chopped Red Onion

Two Minced Garlic Cloves

Four Ounces Of Kalamata Olives Sliced In Half

A Tablespoon Of Capers Drained

The Juice Of A Lemon

Two Teaspoons Of Red Wine Vinegar

Two Teaspoons Of Anchovy Paste

A Teaspoon Of Sugar

2 1/2 Teaspoons Of Sea Salt, Divided

1/4 Teaspoon Of Ground Black Pepper

1/2 Teaspoon Of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1/3 Cup And 2 Tablespoons Of Olive Oil

A Tablespoon Of Roughly Cut Fresh Italian Parsley

A Tablespoon Of Roughly Cut Fresh Basil

Two Tablespoons Of Toasted Pine Nuts (Put the nuts into a small baking pan and roast in the oven set at 300 degrees until the nuts turn light brown)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray.  Brush the eggplant slices, the tomato slices, and the red pepper with two tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle the vegetables with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Spread the vegetables out evenly on the cookie sheet and place the cookie sheet in the pre-heated oven. Roast the vegetables until the skin of the pepper turns dark brown and the eggplant and tomatoes are lightly browned. Let the vegetables cool for 15 minutes. Cut the eggplant and tomato slices into about one inch cubes. Remove the charred skin, the stem and the seeds from the red pepper. Cut the roasted pepper flesh into one inch pieces.

Into a large mixing bowl, add the garlic, the sugar, and two teaspoons of sea salt. Mash with a fork to form a paste. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and the anchovy paste. Mash again. Add the lemon juice and the red wine vinegar. Whisk until well blended. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue to whisk until the mixture is well blended and thickened slightly. Taste and add more sea salt and/or crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.   

Add the eggplant, the tomatoes, the red pepper, the celery, the red onion, the kalamata olives, the capers, the pine nuts, the parsley, and the basil to the mixing bowl. Fold the ingredients gently into the dressing until everything is well coated. Taste again and add more sea salt and/or crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.

Let the salad sit at room temperature for at least an hour before serving. Note: the longer it sits, the better the caponata gets.

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