A Whole Lotta Caponata

May  9, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Makes 2 quarts plus extra for leftovers
Author Notes

Eggplant is one of my favorite foods and I am always looking to use it any way I can! This is a staple in our house, especially in the warmer months when great produce is readily available. It makes a great "first bite" over warm toast or makes a light lunch or dinner over whole grain pasta. This is a large recipe so you will have plenty to share with friends, neighbors, and extended family. It jars easily, improves with a age, and makes a great gift for other "foodies". My kids love the sweetness in this caponata and it is a great way to get them to "eat their veggies!" —Cupcake921

What You'll Need
  • 2 large eggplants - peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets (about a 1/2 inch dice or smaller)
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 ribs of celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 5 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup pitted olives, such as kalamata
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup your herb of choice - such as mint, basil, or parsley
  • kosher salt
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • shards of pecorino or parmesan cheese (for garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place eggplant and cauliflower in a large roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and salt. Toss to coat evenly and roast until the cauliflower is soft and the eggplant is mushy, about 20 minutes.
  3. Coat a large dutch oven with olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Toss in onion and red pepper and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Next, add fennel, celery and minced garlic and cook for another 8-10minutes.
  5. Stir in peppers and cook for another 8-10 minutes. The veggies should be softening at this point, but not completely cooked or mushy.
  6. Toss in reserved eggplant and cauliflower mixture. Cook until the mixture looks as if it is starting to come together as a stew, about another 5 minutes.
  7. Add the 1/2 cup of water and tomato paste. Continue to cook over medium heat until most of the water is evaporated, about another 5 minutes.
  8. Place sugar, raisins and vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave to dissolve the sugar, about 30 seconds in a standard microwave. The raisins should be plump and soft.
  9. Stir the vinegar mixture into the dutch oven and stir to combine.
  10. Next, stir in the remaining ingredients. Add the olives, pine nuts and capers. Add your herb of choice, such as mint, basil, or parsley. Cook to combine the newly added ingredients, about another 5-10 minutes.
  11. Turn off the heat on the dutch oven and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Serve as desired (over warm toast, in a salad, or over pasta). Garnish with percorino or parmesan cheese. Share leftovers as desired!

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1 Review

bugbitten January 1, 2012
I was asked to make caponata for 22 people for a new year's eve dinner party. I don't much like caponata myself, so I picked out your recipe because the fennel and cauliflower peaked my interest.

Everyone (well almost) complimented your recipe, and it was the standout. Thank you!