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Grilled Vegetable Caponata

Caponata (kap-oh-Nah-tah) is a Sicilian dish, or antipasto, served at room temperature with hard bread or wafers. It is also good heated and served over pasta.

A similar French dish is called ratatouille (ra-tuh-Too-ee), although neither traditionally uses grilled vegetables. It can be refrigerated and does not have to be served all at once.

1 large eggplant

3 medium zucchini

Olive oil for brushing

Salt and pepper

Prepare the tomato sauce (recipe follows). Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Salt the eggplant heavily and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over a hot fire. Rinse all salt from the eggplant and pat dry. Remove the ends of the zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Lightly brush the eggplant and zucchini with olive oil and season with salt and pepper or Creole Seasoned Salt

Grill the vegetables directly over the fire for approximately 8 to 12 minutes until tender, turning every 4 minutes.

Cut the vegetables into a 1/4-inch dice. Combine the vegetables with the tomato sauce and stir to mix. The caponata is best if prepared ahead and refrigerated for 12 to 24 hours to allow the seasonings to blend. Bring to room temperature and stir before serving.

Tomato Sauce

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, pressed of minced

2 fresh tomatoes, diced*

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

· NOTE: If good fresh tomatoes are not available, use canned, whole, peeled Roma tomatoes (14.5 ounce can).

Combine all ingredients over medium heat, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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