CaponataJul 22, 2019
Buon giorno! Caponata is an Italian dish hailing from Sicily.
This is one of my favourite dishes as it is super versatile. You can substitute a variety of different ingredients to change up the taste or prepare by season. The basic ingredients are aubergine/eggplant, tomatoes and onions. Add more of the ingredients you love or eliminate those you don’t care for in order to make it specific to your tastes.
Caponata is great for a crowd. It also freezes well and it is super delicious on the second day as the flavours have had time to combine. You can prepare it with a little more liquid and serve it over pasta or in a bowl with crusty bread, or with a little less liquid and serve it over rice or couscous in more of a stew fashion. I have served it over polenta, on a baked potato and on top of a salad cold the second day.
1 large aubergine/eggplant or 2-3 small
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Olive oil
1 celery stalk
5-6 Garlic cloves
1 red pepper
1-3 tablespoons harissa paste
2 cans tomatoes (crushed, diced or whole)
2 teaspoons Red wine vinegar
¼-½ cup Red wine
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
½ jar prepared roasted red pepper, diced
2 cups Chickpeas/garbanzo beans (1 can)
2 tablespoon Capers, with liquid
6 tablespoons olives
1 Lemon, juiced
Dice eggplant. If aubergine is a large variety, place in a colander and salt generously. Let sit for at least 15 minutes. If using okra, place in a bowl with ice water.
Meanwhile, dice onion, celery and pepper and mince garlic. Add to a large pot with olive oil on low heat. Prepare other ingredients by measuring out, opening cans, etc.
Once the eggplant start to weep (get a little watery), wash the salt off and add it to your pot.
Add harissa paste (to taste), and tinned tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, smoosh each tomato with your hand over the pot. Add red wine vinegar, red wine, red pepper flakes (if using), roasted red pepper, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, capers and olives. Bring mixture to a boil.
Whie this comes to a boil, prepare okra if using. Remove from ice water and pat dry. Slice and immediately add to pot.
Once boiling, cover and turn heat to low. Let cook for about 1 hour, stirring at 30 minutes. At 30 minutes, adjust liquid (if you wish to have more liquid, add water) and seasoning.
Garnish with fresh parsley.
Don’t just eat your food, flirt with it!
Add squash or zucchini
Add raisins for a sweet twist
Substitute kidney beans for chickpeas/garbanzo beans
When tomatoes are in season, substitute fresh tomatoes for canned. Use about ½ kilo/1 pound
*A word about okra/lady fingers. Every year I get a lot of okra from my CSA (community sponsored agriculture). Okra is ok, but I get it every week when it is in season. I have tried to find creative ways to use and this is one of them. I find it really adds a nice texture to the caponata and it helps to thicken. When okra is in season try it out in this recipe.