Of all the things I love to cook, this simple little caponata recipe is by far one of my favorites. It’s one of those appetizer recipes I just can’t wait to dig in to even before I start cooking! I especially enjoy preparing it because of the way it fills my home with the smells I remember as a child when my Sicilian mom and aunts would cook.
The last time I made this for a little party, my girlfriends and I were standing in the kitchen and doing a little taste testing. We started laughing because all of a sudden we all stopped talking and the only sound you could here was, mmm….mmmm…!
Caponata is surprisingly very easy to make. It’s pretty savory because it’s got a good dose of olives and capers (which is probably the reason I love it so much). The other thing I love about it is that it has a great combination of textures. Well that’s if you don’t over cook the veggies or swap out the celery, according to my 87-year-0ld mom. She says that it’s the celery that defines caponata (and if you knew my mom, you’d have to listen to her).
- 1 medium eggplant, cut in cubes
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped (or canned, whole) kosher salt
- 4 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons capers
- ¼ green olives, cut in half
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives
- ¼ cup white wine|
- 2 cups, plus about 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- On medium heat, in 3 tablespoons olive oil, saute onions and celery for about 10 minutes until moderately tender.
- Add the garlic for about 30 seconds and then the olives, tomatoes, capers and wine and continue to saute for a few minutes. Taste and add salt to taste.
- Set pan aside. In small or medium sauce pan, add olive oil and heat to 375°. One little trick, if you don’t have a thermometer, is to drop a cube of bread in the oil to see if it has a little sizzle. When the oil is ready, carefully add the eggplant and fry for a few minutes, turning to make sure the pieces lightly brown evenly.
- Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towels for a few minutes to absorb oil.
- Add to pan with the other vegetables and gently saute for about five minutes to further blend flavors.
- Serving Suggestion
- This side dish is absolutely delicious served on roasted baguette slices. Just slice your favorite baguette, brush with a little olive oil (you can even give them a rub with fresh garlic), and lightly toast in oven. Spoon on the caponata and serve warm or at room temperature.
- I’ve also eaten this just a side dish and LOVE it. You can also toss with fresh pasta, but any way you choose to eat it, it’s sure to taste good!
This side dish is absolutely delicious served on roasted baguette slices. Just slice your favorite baguette, brush with a little olive oil (you can even give them a rub with fresh garlic), and lightly toast in oven. Spoon on the caponata and serve warm or at room temperature.
I’ve also eaten this just a side dish and LOVE it. You can also toss with fresh pasta, but any way you choose to eat it, it’s sure to taste good!