June 19, 2011
Author Notes

Caponata is a Sicilian side dish I guess if you had to liken it to any dish it would be Ratatouille. This was a staple in my family at least once a week. It is a combination of cooked vegetables, eggplant is the star and of course like many italian dishes there is a tomato base. I thought this would be a wonderful addition to a picnic basket, it stays good for hours without refrigeration can withstand a bit of sun, it actually improves with time. Its best to make this a day or two ahead of when you plan on serving. Serve cold or room temperature with crusty bread, some nice hard cheese and wine. This is my interpretation of the recipe my family used with a little help from a recipe I found in NYT. —sdebrango

  • Serves 4-6
  • 4 Italian eggplant washed and cut in half lengthwise. Skin on.
  • 1 Medium size onion chopped
  • 2 Stalks celery (Use the tender inner stalks) chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic minced
  • 4 Peppadew peppers chopped (If you do not have these use more of the red bell pepper)
  • 1/2 Red bell pepper chopped
  • 4 Fresh tomato's peeled and seeds removed, or 1cup canned crushed tomato
  • 3 tablespoons Capers rinsed
  • 1/4 cup Olives Kalamata or green (I use a little of each) Rough chop the olives
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar (add 1 tsp taste and add another if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons Red Wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450, clean the eggplant cut the tops off and cut in half lengthwise. On baking sheet lined with aluminum foil brush a little olive oil place your eggplant cut side down and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
  2. In fry pan on med/high flame coated with olive oil add your chopped onion, cook until translucent. Add chopped celery and red bell pepper, continue cooking until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Add your minced garlic, cook for a minute or so don't let garlic brown. Add your eggplant,tomato,peppadew, capers, olives,crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar continue cooking until mixture is thick. Eggplant will break down but thats ok this will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight. It tastes incredible when it has rested and all the flavors have blended together.

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I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember, am self taught learning as I go. I come from a large Italian family and food was at the center of almost every gathering. My grandfather made his own wine and I remember the barrels of wine in the cellar of my grandfathers home, I watched my mother and aunts making homemade pasta and remember how wonderful it was to sit down to a truly amazing dinner. Cooking for me is a way to express myself its my creative outlet. I enjoy making all types of food but especially enjoy baking, I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I share my home with my two dogs Izzy and Nando. I like to collect cookbooks and scour magazines and newspapers for recipes. I hope one day to organize them.