Caponata or ‘salad’ can be made using any type of vegetable. But this dish focuses on the hearty and filling eggplant which makes for a delicious meal!
Eggplant caponata recipes vary depending on which region in Italy you’re in. This recipe is a combination of northern and southern cuisine and is the perfect vegetarian meal or meat-lovers side dish!
Ingredients (for a party of 2-4):
2 whole eggplants
1 white onion
3-4 fresh basil leaves
2 1/2 tbsp of tomato paste
1 tbsp of capers
1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
3-4 celery stalks
1/4 cup of sugar
1 orange or red sweet pepper
4-6 campari tomatoes
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3-5 cups of vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by preparing your onions, celery and eggplant. Chop the onions and celery finely and cube the eggplant. Cut the tomatoes into fours and set aside.
To cook the eggplant, I recommend frying in vegetable oil. If you don’t have a fryer, you can take a medium sized pot and fill with the vegetable oil. Let the eggplant cook until it has completely changed color and then remove and set aside. Most likely, you will not be able to cook all of the eggplant at once so this process may take a while.
Once the eggplant is cooked, grab a large pan and cover with olive oil. Add your pepper first and cook until the texture is limp. Then, add your onions and cook until translucent and golden.
Now it’s time to add your celery, capers, and tomatoes. Stir well, and then cover and let cook for about 15-20 minutes.
To make your sauce, combine the vinegar, tomato paste and sugar in a separate bowl. Stir well.
Once your vegetables look thoroughly cooked, add your sauce and stir well. Cook until the smell of vinegar is no longer present or about 5-10 minutes. Then add your salt, pepper, and basil leaves and cook for another 5 minutes.
Finally, add your eggplant toward the end and mix well until the eggplant has warmed up again.
You can eat caponata warm, but it’s best when served cold. If you pop this combination in the fridge for 1 hour and then serve, the flavors will get a better change to combine and it will taste even better (even in the fridge overnight). But this part is totally up to you.
Let me know how your eggplant caponata tastes in the comments!