This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is “Dressing For Success” (condiments, spreads and salad dressings) and almost immediately I knew I wanted to make caponata. Caponata is a sweet and sour type of relish from Sicily traditionally featuring eggplant, onions, celery, olives, capers, olive oil and vinegar. I fell in love with Sicilian cuisine during my honeymoon – several countries have invaded this island over the centuries, which is reflected in the cooking. Beyond the obvious Roman influence, you see Greek, North African and Middle Eastern ingredients in many traditional dishes there.
For my version of caponata, I like to add in green and red peppers as well as tomatoes.
Place eggplant in colander and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 30 minutes, then pat dry. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Saute garlic for 1 minute then add onions. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add eggplant, peppers and vinegar, cover and simmer for 30 – 35 minutes or until peppers are soft (stir occasionally and add a tablespoon or two of water if too dry.) Add tomato(es) and saute, uncovered, another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in capers. Let cool slightly before serving. (Will keep in refrigerator for 3 days.)
Variations: add golden raisins, pine nuts or almonds
My favorite way to eat it is slathered on thick slabs of crusty Italian bread. Other ways to enjoy: mixed into polenta, folded into an omelet or stuffed into zucchini, peppers or squash. It’s also a great side for chicken or can be mixed into any grain dish.