Caponata, a zesty eggplant spread, is great anytime, winter or summer, although I do seem to serve it more often in the summer as it just works so well for outdoor entertaining. It makes a tasty nibble that is wonderful party fare, or can be an appetizer for an informal dinner. I have prepared it ahead and froze it before a party, and have also canned it when eggplants were flourishing in my garden. You can also use this delicious recipe to fill small tart or phyllo shells, but if you do, cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch pieces.
Tip For Serving: I like to serve the caponata in an attractive ceramic container, or in a hollowed out shiny eggplant, surrounded by garlic toasts with which to spread it on.
Variation: You can try using either green or black olives. I personally prefer black olives in this recipe. By substituting balsamic vinegar for the wine vinegar you can get a richer, heartier flavor. Peppers, either red or green could be chopped and added if you desire. Just cook them before you add the eggplant to the pan.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 3 Small Eggplants
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- 3 Small Onions, Chopped
- 2 to 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 Stalks Of Celery, Chopped
- 1 (28oz.) Can Chopped Tomatoes
- 1/2 Cup Olives, Green or Black, Chopped
- 1/4 Cup Capers
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
- 1/4 Cup Wine Vinegar
- Salt & Pepper
- Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- Garlic Toast
- Peel the eggplants, and cut into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces.
- Put in a colander, sprinkle with the salt and leave 30 minutes.
- In a large pan, add a few tablespoons of the oil, and when hot add the onions, and cook until soft.
- Add the celery and garlic, and cook 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook an additional 10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick.
- Rinse the salt from the eggplant and pat dry.
- Add the rest of the oil into a frying pan and once it is hot, add the diced eggplant.
- Cook until the eggplant is tender and turning golden brown.
- Add the eggplant to the tomato mixture with the rest of the ingredients, and cook on low for another 15 minutes.
- Check the seasonings and let come to room temperature before serving.