Classic Sicilian-Style Caponata
*This recipe is from CHARLES VOLLMAR, founder of Epicurean Exchange. Raised in Loomis, Vollmar is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He trained at Chez Panisse in Berkeley and he is a frequent teacher at culinary schools. He also leads workshops, wellness programs, and epicurean excursions throughout the greater Bay Area. Check the classes link for information on his upcoming classes at Newcastle Produce. Caponata is a flavorful Sicilian vegetable dish that is typically served at room temperature as a side dish or relish with grilled meats, poultry or fish. Although there are countless variations, Caponata typically combines eggplant, onions, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, capers, pine nuts and vinegar. This Caponata can be prepared several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
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- 2 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
- Kosher salt
- 4 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3/4 cup Mediterranean-style green olives, pitted
- 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 4 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1/4 cup minced flat-leafed parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a colander and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let drain for 30 minutes.
- Rinse the eggplant and dry with paper towels. In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant and sauté, stirring frequently for 3 - 4 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the eggplant is very soft, about 15 minutes. Remove
- eggplant from the pan, set aside and rinse the pan.
- In the same sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and red bell pepper and cook until soft, 8 – 10 minutes. Remove the cover and cook until the vegetables are lightly browned. Add the olives, capers, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, tomatoes and raisins and cook until the liquid has evaporated, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Add the cooked eggplant, pine nuts and minced parsley and stir to combine. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Remove the mixture from the pan and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
- Mixture can also be chilled and served cold.
- Serves 6
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