There’s something so alluring about the nightshade vegetables, especially eggplant. As a youngster in the restaurant industry, I had first heard of the term ‘nightshade’ from a couple of eccentric guests I used to wait on regularly. They were both on these highly specific diets, diets that were designed for them by, and I’m not kidding here, a blind psychic living in New York, whom they had never actually met. They shelled out a lot of moolah for phone consultations, and they were told that they were no longer able to eat any nightshades. This included mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes, so, in other words, they would come to my fancy restaurant and tended to get chicken or fish on a plate. You hear a lot of things in the restaurant business, and it’s very true that eventually, if you’re in it long enough, nothing surprises you. Nothing. Nothing at all.
But, if your diet says that you can eat all the nightshades you’d like, and if you love love love eggplant, (and happen to have an afternoon to kill,) I highly recommend making your own caponata. While it’s indeed a labor of love frying up all that eggplant in batches, the end result is nothing short of magical.
Caponata is a Sicilian appetizer, similar to ratatouille. Think of it as a salad served warm, but a salad that is completely, absolutely addictive. Stewed tomatoes, celery, olives, capers, and fried cubes of eggplant all work together perfectly and pair beautifully with flatbread.
Make a batch of it, and use it to bake this inspired flatbread pizza, that really lets the caponata shine. If you’re cruising through an Italian deli, though, and you see a nice looking jar of prepared caponata, then throw it into your cart and you’re more than halfway there. You’ll love it, I promise. And you don’t have to pay me money to tell you that you can eat it.
-Amy at Flatout
- 1 Flatout flatbread
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
- 3/4 cup high quality caponata
- 1/3 cup fresh parmesan cheese, shavings or grated, plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place Flatout flatbread on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for two minutes. Remove from the oven and spread the ricotta onto the flatbread. Top with dollops of the caponata, then parmesan cheese. Bake at 375°F for four minutes. Remove flatbread from the oven, and top with more fresh parmesan to taste.