Caponata is a traditional Sicilian relish with a long, rich history that originated with the fisherman’s caponata alla marinara, made with seafood. These days, caponata is usually made with eggplant. Sicily’s cuisine is a fascinating mélange of Italian, Arab and Spanish culinary traditions, closely linked to local crops like the eggplant featured here. Caponata recipes abound and the dish may be varied almost endlessly with such additions as toasted pine nuts or almonds, artichokes, cooked egg slices, orange juice, anchovies, basil, and even bitter chocolate. Sicilian restaurants sometimes add swordfish, shrimp, or baby octopus and top it with shaved bottarga (dried, salted and pressed tuna roe). Caponata gets its typical sweet and sour flavor from a little sugar mixed with red wine vinegar. The caponata will keep up to ten days, refrigerated, but should be brought back to room temperature for best flavor.
Serving Size: 1 Quart
- 2 large eggplants, unpeeled
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 3 to 4 ribs celery, diced
- 1 (15-ounce) box Pomi (asceptic box packed diced tomatoes) or canned plum tomatoes diced and mixed with liquid from can
- ¾ cup sliced green olives
- ¼ cup drained capers
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
Preheat oven to 400°. Cut eggplant into 1-inch dice. Toss with 6 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread onto a baking pan. Roast about 20 minutes, or until eggplant is browned and soft.
Meanwhile, combine onions, red and yellow peppers and celery. Sauté in a large skillet in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil till crisp tender.
Separately, combine tomatoes, olives, capers, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Add to sautéed vegetables. Stir in roasted eggplant. Bring to the boil and simmer together about 15 minutes or until thickened. Cool and then stir in parsley and marjoram. Serve at room temperature on Crostini.
(from Starting with Ingredients)