Eggplant, also known as aubergine is probably my all-time favorite veggie. It’s so versatile and is used in many cuisines throughout the world. Today, I am sharing with you my eggplant caponata that I have been making for many years. I have tweaked it a little, to reflect the ingredients in the traditional version. It originated in Sicily and there are a few recipe variations. Traditionally it’s served with hard boiled eggs and crusty bread. Ideally, I recommend using green Sicilian olives, but to stay within budget, I use pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives. This recipe can be doubled for a larger crowd.
Serves: 2-4 as a side dish or 4-6 as an appetizer – Level of difficulty: Easy – Prepping time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 15-20 minutes.
- 1 medium eggplant, cut-up in cubes*
- 1 – 1.25 tsp. sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + more to drizzle
- 1/4 cup onions chopped
- 1/4 cup celery, chopped
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/4 cup tomatoes, chopped *
- 1/4 cup Pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, drained
- 1 tbsp. capers, rinsed
- 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
- 1-2 pinches of sugar (dissolved in vinegar)
- pine nuts, optional
- basil, cut into chiffonade for garnish
1) Season the eggplant with salt and pepper.
2) In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil, sautee onions and celery for about 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3) Add eggplant, it will absorb the oil, it’s ok, just keep stirring to avoid burning for 2 minutes or so.
4) Add tomato paste, brown until it caramelizes, another 2 minutes. Keep stirring. Add tomatoes, olives, capers, vinegar/sugar, pine nuts.
5) Lower the flame to medium and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove.
6) Serve in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with basil.
Wine pairing suggestion: A Nero d’Avola for red, or Insolia for white wine lovers. Both grape varieties are indigenous to Sicily and would make a stunning pairing with the caponata.
Cook’s notes: 1) I used Pomi brand chopped tomatoes. If you want it to have more sauce, add more tomatoes. You can certainly use fresh tomatoes. 2) Feel free to add more oil, if you need to. 3) Buy the eggplant the day before or preferably the same day if possible to ensure freshness.
Base recipe, method of cooking and photos
by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles