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Author Notes: There’s nothing like a funny meat quote. There is no meat in my eggplant caponata and I’m sorry to disappoint you, I don’t have a funny meat quote either. But I have a good recipe for all who despise the meat and all who are embarking on a Lenten journey.
In Sicily caponata is a popular, picturesque and refreshing summer dish of eggplants and tomatoes a.k.a. “taste of Sicilian passionate kiss of the sun”. With caponata, I’m bringing Sicily home and hoping the sun will tag along, but served warm alongside mashed potatoes or pasta I find it nourishing enough even for cold days.
I love how versatile this dish is: serve with crusty bread for a hearty appetizer, warm or cold, as a side dish or vegetarian main dish. The spiciness is perfectly paired up with sweetness and nuttiness of the eggplant.
—All that's Jas
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 small onion
- 16 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 1/3 cup pitted green olives (optional)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon basil (fresh or dry)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- salt to taste
- Clean and dice eggplant, but do not peel. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside for 30 minutes to draw out the moisture. In a saucepan sauté onions until softened. Add diced tomatoes with juices and cook until it thickens.
- Meanwhile, rinse eggplant with hot water (removes bitterness) and pat dry with paper towels. In a large skillet over high heat, heat the olive and vegetable oil. Quickly fry the eggplant pieces until browned.
- Add the chopped celery and fry tree more minutes. Pour in the tomato sauce, olives, capers and salt to taste. Mix well and sauté for five minutes. Add sugar, vinegar, basil and crushed red pepper. Lower heat; simmer for five minutes. Serve.