This recipe produces what seems like a lot of caponata. But then we start using it and bringing it to friends, and suddenly it doesn’t seem like so much. In any case, I need to do something with my eggplant crop and, frankly, making a lot of caponata is hardly more bother than making less. Furthermore, caponata keeps well and is a good addition to any meal, a light lunch with cheese or on the dinner table with grilled meats or fish—it is even lovely with eggs. But you can cut the quantities in half if you like.
Recipe courtesy of Katchkie Farm
- 3/4 Cups golden raisins
- 1 Cup olive oil
- 4-6 medium eggplants washed but not peeled, diced to yield 12 cups
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 Cups diced onions
- 1 1/3 Cup peeled and diced celery
- 3 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 Teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 sweet yellow bell peppers, roasted, peeled and diced
- 3 sweet red peppers, roasted, peeled and diced
- 3/4 Cups capers in vinegar, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- 3 Cups peeled, seeded and roughly chopped tomatoes
- 1 Cup chopped parsley
Put the raisins in a medium bowl and cover with lukewarm water to soften. Set aside until needed.
Pour enough oil into a sauté pan or skillet to cover the bottom generously and place the pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the eggplant and sauté, stirring until tender, adding oil as needed; you may need to do this in batches. Remove the eggplant to a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and set it aside to cool.
Pour additional oil into the pan and add the onions, celery and garlic, then the thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook, stirring from time to time until tender.
Add the peppers, capers, vinegar, sugar, and tomatoes; drain the raisins and add. Cook until it is slightly thickened. Adjust the seasoning as necessary with additional vinegar and sugar to achieve a pleasing balance of sweet to acid, and season to taste with salt or pepper.
Let the pepper mixture cool to room temperature, then fold in the eggplant.
Fold in the chopped parsley before serving. Caponata can be served warm, never cold. I think the flavors are at their best at room temperature.