Traditional caponata is a Sicilian specialty that consists of eggplant stewed in oil with onions, tomatoes, olives, capers, and anchovies. Here, we’ve added crunchy cauliflower that’s quick-cured with sugar and salt, and instead of stewing, we’ve grilled the eggplant for deeper flavor. Purple cauliflower is becoming more widely available at farmers' markets; white cauliflower would also be delicious here. The antioxidant anthocyanin is responsible for the purple color.
8 ounces purple cauliflower florets
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 tablespoon sugar
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound Japanese eggplant, cut into 1-in.-thick rounds (about 2 medium)
Place cauliflower, shallots, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; toss to coat. Let stand 30 minutes.
Preheat grill to medium-high (about 450°F).
Generously coat eggplant with cooking spray. Place in a single layer on oiled grill grates; grill, covered, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Add eggplant, tomatoes, basil, vinegar, oil, capers, and olives to cauliflower mixture; toss well. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with a slotted spoon.