I was at a farm stand in Pennsylvania this weekend and on a whim, bought a big, fat, dark purple eggplant.
The only thing I’ve ever made with eggplant (besides grilling them with a little olive oil and Italian seasoning – yum) is eggplant parmigiana.
Since the only tomato sauce I had was rock-solid frozen, I read a few of my cookbooks and decided to concoct a recipe for Sicilian Caponata.
I’ve heard Rachael Ray talking about caponata on multiple occasions – show, magazine, website – but I’d never tried it.
Caponata is a “cooked vegetable salad” sometimes referred to as “eggplant relish” but I think Caponata is a much sexier word than Relish. Traditionally based on eggplants and tomatoes, you can add pretty much any veggie to this.
I kept mine simple but other recipes include shredded carrot, olives, roasted red peppers, green bell pepper – even toasted pine nuts as a garnish.
This is meant to be a side dish, or served along crostini or breadsticks as an appetizer, but it was great as a meal served over whole wheat linguine.
It took me all of fifteen minutes to throw together and another twenty or so to simmer. I even have leftovers so I’ll be eating caponata
for the rest of the week at least for lunch tomorrow.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced (I used 1 cup frozen)
- 4 or more garlic cloves, chopped (Used 2 tsp. chopped fresh garlic)
- 1 large globe eggplant, tip and tail trimmed, skin on, diced into very small pieces
- 2 large fresh tomatoes, diced small
- 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons capers
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Kalamata olives (optional)
- Fresh basil (optional)
- Toasted pine nuts (optional)
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil until it shimmers over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and eggplant as they're prepped, stirring to coat with oil each time.
- Cook, stirring often, until eggplant has softened and becomes slightly brown, about 15 minutes. Add the tomato, vinegar and capers.
- Cover and let cook until eggplant and onion are very tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste.
- Serve warm, at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.