This Sicilian Roasted Eggplant Panzanella with Capers, Olives, and Pine Nuts is a tasty, textuary bread salad full of savory goodness. It is hearty enough to be an entire meal or as a side to a light soup.
2 Tbs. dried currants
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 Tbs. boiling water
1 lb. eggplant (about 5 Asian eggplants, or 1-2 Globe eggplants)
8 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
10 oz. hearty gluten-free Sourdough, crusts removed, sliced thickly, and torn into 1-2” chunks (4 cups)
2 Tbs. Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar, more to taste
2 medium garlic cloves, put through a garlic press, and minced
3-4 medium-size ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
¾ C. pitted Castelvetrano olives, halved
3 Tbs. pine nuts, lightly toasted
A handful of basil leaves, torn
1 Tbs. capers, drained
6-8 oz. ricotta salata, feta, mozzarella, for serving
Place the currants in a small heat-proof bowl and cover with red wine vinegar and boiling water. Put aside
Preheat the oven to 400F and position a rack in the middle
Slice Asian eggplants on a diagonal into 1-inch rounds. Cut Globe eggplants into 2-inch chunks. Toss with 2-tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill until golden and tender, 5-10 minutes per side.
Toss the breadcrumbs with 2-tablespoons of olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden. Flip the bread cubes once, 5-10 minutes per side. Put the toasted bread in a large bowl.
In a small bowl whisk together the champagne vinegar, pressed garlic, ¼-cup of the olive oil, ¼-teaspoon of salt, and a few dashes of pepper. Toss the bread with 2-tablespoons of the dressing, then add the grilled eggplant, tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, basil, capers, and drained currants. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and gently toss to combine.
Let stand for 10-30 minutes to give the bread time to absorb moisture from the tomatoes and soften. If the salad is still dry, add 1-4 tablespoons of hot water or vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with ricotta salata, feta or mozzarella.