Eggplant and Red Pepper Caponata

by Jenn on November 18, 2010

in Dairy Free,Diabetic Friendly,Gluten Free,Snacks,Vegetarian

Eggplant and red pepper caponata

I can’t believe that I was actually wishing for snow to fall today.  It seems silly, right? I mean Summer just ended and Fall is upon us, and yet the thought of Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays finds me yearning for a few crystals to float in the air, sparkling in the low sunlight.  To get our Winter-time “fix” we took a little train ride to Swiss-German-speaking land in the Alps to get up and close with our favorite mountain range.

Fate led us to the end of the SBB line in the little resort town of Grindelwald, just south of Interlaken in the canton of Bern, a post-card perfect village nestled right up next to some of the most famous giants of the Alps – the Wetterhorn, Schrekhorn, and the Eiger.  Much to our surprise, it’s not Winter in the Alps yet either!  The sun was shining throughout the valley, cresting ever so slightly over the wall of the Eiger, releasing a soft yellow glow over the entire landscape for most of the day.

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Maybe this was the last great weekend of the year before the long gray months set in.  Maybe the world just wanted us to enjoy another lovely walk through the Swiss countryside.  Whatever the reason for our serendipitous weather fortunes, I’ll take it and enjoy it.  And we did.

I just don’t have the proper words to fully articulate the beauty that I saw.  You know those people that cry when they drive down the street and see a wedding happening (like my mother)? Well I’m kind of like that when I go hiking.  It’s just an overwhelming sensation to believe that I am really here amidst nature’s glory.  I feel I am duty bound to take a photo of a place that is so magical, to attempt to capture the essence of it and the moments we were lucky enough to experience. It sounds so corny, I know, but sometimes there are places in the world that are just too beautiful to keep in only a memory.  So I did my best to bring our hike to you.  Do you want to go on a little journey into the Alps with me?

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While we took our nice leisurely walk throughout this absolutely mystical alpine wonderland…we stopped often for snacks (and I subsequently learned why quince is meant for jelly and not sinking your teeth into – just because it looks like a pear, doesn’t mean it should be eaten as one! ewww).  Snacks were our breakfast and lunch, making it one of my favorite food days.

You see, I am a total snacker.  I love snacks.  If I could eat snacks instead of meals, I would.  Well, actually we do sometimes, which is why if you haven’t noticed yet, on this blog you can see that we eat a lot of dips and spreads, and I have no problem eating something like bruschetta for dinner.  Some snacks are healthier than others, I’ll admit.  For our hike we had mostly cured meats, cheeses, and fruit.  But if I have a kitchen stove around (aka when I’m home), I can make my snacks a bit more complex and turn them into veritable meals.

Today’s dish was one such snack – I had eggplant lying around waiting to be used, and normally for me eggplant gets roasted and goes into a rich tomato sauce that cooks on the stove for a while.  This time I wanted to make something that didn’t take as long, and was something a little different from my “usual”.  I came across this recipe in the NY Times for Eggplant Caponata, and knew it was exactly what I was looking for.

Eggplant and red pepper caponata

For my version I cut out the celery and added in roasted red peppers instead.  It’s no longer the traditional Sicilian dish, but it’s darn yummy (oh wait Dianne all but banned that word from food writing!) err..scrumptious, and works well over some toasted or fried bread slices, mixed into a cold pasta salad, or as a sandwich filler with a little sliced cheese.  For some reason the sweet/sour taste was a bit unexpected for me given the main ingredients that I chose, but it worked surprisingly well with the eggplant and red peppers.  I highly recommend making a double (or triple) batch of this and getting creative with the different ways you can use it!

Eggplant and red pepper caponata

Also linked to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa November 18, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Your pictures are beautiful! I love that area.

That caponata looks delicious. A dish I’ll make next summer…

Snow should fall on Sunday (not in the valley though).

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn November 18, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Thanks Rosa! Yes, it is definitely more of a Summer dish, but I happened to have all the ingredients on hand :) And I will definitely have to go back – I see many more hikes in my future!!

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Kim - Cook It Allergy Free November 18, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Your photography talent AMAZES me more and more each time. The shots with the sunlight beams -holy cow! Well done, my friend. Well done! And how lucky are you to just trot off to the Alps to get your winter fix in? LOL
And that caponata looks phenomenal as well! What a great idea! Yum!

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Jenn November 18, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Oh thank you so much Kim! Ha I couldn’t avoid the sun flares if I wanted to take pics of the mountains…they ended up working out alright though!

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Christine November 18, 2010 at 11:09 pm

This looks so yummy (there I said it!) :) And now I want to go to the alps!

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Jenn November 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm

haha! Sometimes, there is a need for yummy. I probably could have gone on and been more descriptive about the dish, but yummy just seemed appropriate there. It’s how I’d describe it in conversation :)

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judee@glutenfreeA-Z November 19, 2010 at 12:48 am

The picture of the scenary is breath taking .. thanks for sharing it.
The recipe looks good too..I will definetely hold on to it for future use.

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Jenn November 19, 2010 at 4:05 am

Thank you so much!

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Maggie November 19, 2010 at 12:55 am

Your pictures of the alps are amazing Jenn! Lucky girl. This caponata looks perfect for the holidays – a great party app!

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Jenn November 19, 2010 at 4:05 am

Thanks Maggie! Yeah, I think it would be totally different and yet still easy to make for entertaining.

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El November 19, 2010 at 1:25 am

This post and this recipe are exquisite. Thank you for sharing.

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Jenn November 19, 2010 at 4:07 am

Thank you!

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Deanna November 19, 2010 at 3:17 am

Beautiful pictures! Eggplant is another ingredient that I could have done for the Scared Silly round up, except I’m still scared of it. :P

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Jenn November 19, 2010 at 5:20 am

Don’t be scared of eggplant, it’s such a versatile veggie! Maybe this recipe will help you get over your fears :)

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InTolerantChef November 19, 2010 at 11:00 am

Thanks for taking me on your alpine wanderings. I love eggplant, and your dish looks so very YUMMY!
I refuse to bann that word!

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Jenn November 20, 2010 at 1:35 am

haha – I am rather partial to “yummy” myself – sometimes it really is the best word to use!

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Cherine November 19, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Your pictures are breathtaking!
Your caponata looks wonderful.

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Jenn November 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Thank you so much !

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Heidi @adventuresofaglutenfreemom.com November 20, 2010 at 6:59 am

Breathtaking…all of it. :-D

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Jenn November 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Thanks Heidi!!

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Priyanka Naik November 20, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Your caponata looks yummy! I make something really similar- i LOVE eggplant! I just add some red crushed pepper flakes to mine for some spice :) THanks for sharing!

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Jenn November 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Thanks! Oh red pepper flakes sound like a great addition – I will try that next time.

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Carol, Simply...Gluten-free November 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Stunning! Just stunning – I have no more words :) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. xo, carol

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Jenn November 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Thank you Carol – you as well, enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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bake in paris November 26, 2010 at 5:09 am

Simply breathtaking, both the scenery and the caponata! Thanks for the journey with you, Jenn!

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Jenn November 27, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Thanks Kris!!! I can’t wait to go back to the Alps once they are all snow covered, I’m sure they will look completely different then!

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Lisa@bakedinmaine.com November 28, 2010 at 3:28 am

Jenn~

Your GORGEOUS photos belong in National Geographic.
And your recipes in Bon Appetite’

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!
Lisa
xo

PS. I’m craving Italian food….

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Jenn November 28, 2010 at 9:58 am

Oh thanks Lisa, that is so sweet of you! Yes, I had a very lovely Thanksgiving, I hope yours was wonderful as well!

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Jamie December 4, 2010 at 1:27 pm

HA HA HA! I saw that post on Dianne’s blog and had to think (and maybe I commented) that sometimes words like yummy and scrumptious just are the words that fit the best! Your pictures are absolutely STUNNING!!! Wow! Really gorgeous and now I want to visit this area. I never travel out to that part of Europe but I will mention it to husband. Love the caponata and we love snack meals and often go that route. Perfect recipe!

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Jenn December 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm

LOL! Thanks!! Yes you should totally visit the Alps – every time I go I fall in love with them more and more :)

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Peg January 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Here I was looking for a recipe because I didn’t include it with the one I’m making tonight and I got to the end and Red Pepper Caponata was the last ingredient. As I was giving thanks for the wonder of the internet, I chose your page and where did I arrive, but in my favorite spot in the planet: Grindelwald! Kismet for sure. Now I just have to remember to get the recipe after daydreaming the rest of the day away.
Thanks much!

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Jenn January 17, 2013 at 8:34 pm

You’re welcome! It’s one of my favorite places too :)

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