I love just putting out a selection of breads and crackers, whipped feta and caponata, so that guests can make their own fun bites. Interactive snacking. The layers of flavor from the caponata are simple but great, while the salty bacon and capers and sweet raisins provide a variety of textures.
Kitchen equipment required: Sauce pans, cutting board, stand mixer
Swap Option: You can use any winter squash and root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, acorn squash, delicata)
Root Vegetable Caponata
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces ("lardons")
- 1 small onion, diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper, julienne (1/8-inch strips)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium celery root (about 10 ounces), peeled and diced small (2 cups)
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled and diced small (4 cups)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup golden raisins, soaked for 15 min in warm water and strained
- 2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
- 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 pound feta, drained and crumbled
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Crusty sourdough (thick slices)
For the root vegetable caponata:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat large sauté pan over medium heat. Add bacon to the hot pan and cook until it begins to crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, red pepper and garlic and sweat for 3 minutes. Season with salt as you go. add the butter and olive oil, and then the celery root and squash. Stir to coat the ingredients with the butter and oil. Place in oven and let roast until just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring twice. Remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the sugar, vinegar, pistachios, capers and raisins and serve.
For the whipped feta:
In stand mixer with paddle attachment, whip cream cheese until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add crumbled feta, heavy cream and salt and mix for another minute.
Toast nice crusty sourdough thick slices in butter until golden brown.
Spread with whipped feta and top with caponata. Garnish with fresh torn basil.