Caponata, we know it’s you – An eggplant caponata a little different
Caponata, lo sappiamo che sei tu – Una Caponata un pò diversa
Caponata is very ancient recipe, it’s a typical Sicilian dish with eggplants, onions, celeri, capers, tomatoes, olives. The eggplants are traditionally fried and the whole dish is sweet and sour due to the sugar/vinegar mixture. Naples has its own version, and probably as many as Italian households. It’s mainly served cold as an appetizer “antipasto” with bread or as a unique dish. My mom being from central Italy has never really made it. She used to make a version of the bandiera or ratatouille in French which is slightly different, it has more types of vegetables than caponata.
You need the beautiful Italian eggplant, not too big, and with a beautiful vibrant purple color. Their flesh is dense and has no seeds. Sometimes, if the eggplant is too big and has seeds, we drain the eggplant water by adding some coarse salt on top and letting it sit for about 30 min, in Italian we have a verb for the whole process that is called “scaricare” or “dégorger” in French.
Instead of adding olives and pine nuts to the caponata, I grilled some country bread and spread some olive pesto, so you can really taste the olive, walnut, garlic paste. I did not use as not as many tomatoes, I wanted to still get the purply color and not drown it into the tomato sauce. Finally I did not fry the eggplant since they tend to absorb a lot of oil, so I would call this a caponata’s distant relative.
Ingredients for 4
- 6 large ripe tomatoes, seedless and diced
- 2 medium size eggplants (or 4 Italian ones), diced
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 4 celeri sticks, cut in cubes
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 tbs capres rinced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1/2 glass of vinegar
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 3 tbs basil, chopped
- salt and pepper
Spread coarse salt on top of eggplants, and let it sit for about 30 min- 45 min to drain the water.
Broil the bell pepper under the broiler, until the skin darkens and separates from the flesh. Let it cool and remove the skin and the seeds. Cut in small cubes. Keep some for decoration.
In the meantime, sautee onions and celeri in olive oil. Let the mixture brown, stirring frequently. Add capers and basil. Stir for a little bit, then add tomatoes, garlic, and red bell peppers. Stir again.
Rinse the eggplants under running water, then pat them dry in a paper or cloth towel. Add to the tomato mixture. Cook until the eggplants are nice and brown. Add sugar and vinegar. Cook until the strong smell of the vinegar evaporates.
Caponata is ready, let it cool down, add additional basil and serve with a slice of grilled country bread and olive pesto.
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