It is believed by some that this Sicilian antipasto originated with the local fisherman. Their caponata alla marinara made with seafood kept well because of the vinegar which acted as a preservative.
Caponata is easy to prepare and keeps for at least a week (it’s always gone by then, but I think it would keep longer).
You can serve it hot over pasta, as a side dish with fish or the traditional way with toasted Bruschetta (rubbed with garlic and a drizzle of olive oil).
It’s pretty darn good right out of the pot too! Served at room temperature or just slightly warm seems to bring all the flavors together nicely.
- 1 eggplant
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 sweet red or green bell peppers
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 (1-pound) can Italian-style tomatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 12 Kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon capers
- Salt and pepper
- Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score the cut surface. Sprinkle with salt and let drain in a colander or on paper towels for 30 minutes.
- Rinse, pat dry and cut into 1 inch cubes.
- Heat oil in large saute pan, add onion, peppers (cut into 1 inch cubes) and celery (1/4 slice) . Cook on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add eggplant and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes with juice. (If they are whole cut into same size as peppers and eggplant).
- Mix together vinegar, sugar and garlic, add to pan, cook 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Slice olives in quarters and add to vegetables with capers. Stir well to let all the vegetables soak up the juices.
- Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat 15-20 minutes to evaporate most of the liquid. Stir now and then.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.