Sunday, October 16, 2011

Caponatarama- Updated below!

Sicilian Caponata on Crostini

Another of my edible favorites is the italian Caponata dish that my mother-in-law makes as an appetizer or a side dish.  She was kind enough to share the recipe with me, and now I share it with you.

Caponata can be served either hot or cold, and either by itself or on a crostini (see crostini recipe below).  I find the caponata tastes best when marinating and blending flavors in the fridge for a few days, so I end up serving it cool, sometimes on crostini but mostly just shoveled into my mouth with a giant sigh of happiness.

Sicilian Caponata


1   eggplant
1/2 cup olive oil
1   onion, sliced
2   sweet red peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
2   sticks celery, sliced thickly
1 lb canned plum tomatoes
2  tablespoons red wine vinegar
1   tablespoon sugar
1   clove garlic, crushed
12 jumbo stuffed green olives
12 jumbo black olives, pitted
2   tablespoons capers (reserve liquid)
ground black pepper to taste


1. Cut the eggplant in half and score the cut surface.

2. Sprinkle with salt and leave to drain in a colander or on paper towels for 1 hour. ***See note below***

3. Rinse, pat dry and cut into 1 inch cubes.

4. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the onion, peppers and celery.  Lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the eggplant and cook a further 5 minutes.

5. Cut the tomatoes open and remove the seeds.  Dice the tomatoes and add the flesh and the pulp and liquid from the can to the vegetables in the sauté pan.

6. Add the remaining ingredients except the olives and capers and cook for a further 2 minutes.

7. Slice the green olives into four equal slices perpendicular to the pimento and the cut the black olives in quarters and add to the vegetables with the capers.

8. Simmer, uncovered, over moderate heat for about 7 minutes to evaporate most of the liquid.  (Make sure not to overcook, you still want the eggplant to have a shape and not be mush.)  Adjust the seasoning, adding liquid from capers to salt.  Mix in approximately 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper or to taste.  

9. Serve hot or cold.  Again, I will strongly advise you to let this at least sit overnight.  The blending of flavors makes this dish sing, and by eating this right away, you will lose that savory flavor.  Each day it sits and blends, it gets more flavorful, however getting this to last more than a day or two is a challenge.

Serves 6

***Note:  When salting the eggplant, I place two heavy plates on the backs of the halves, and put the eggplant face down onto some paper towels so the liquid is forced out.  I let them sit for about an hour, which you can use as time to prep your other ingredients.  After an hour, I rinse the salt from the top of the eggplant with a little water and pat dry, pressing gently down on the meat of the eggplant as I dry to remove any excess water still inside.  This removes any bitterness from the eggplant.  As eggplants age and grow big, the water inside is what makes the eggplant bitter.  It is not necessary to salt small eggplants such as the Japanese eggplant as they are not bitter and do not require the moisture to be removed.

Crostini Recipe 
Simply bake 12 half-inch slices of ciabatta, rub them with a cut clove of garlic, drizzle it with olive oil, and season it with salt and pepper. 
  • 1 loaf of ciabatta bread, cut into 1/2- inch slices
  • good quality, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • salt and ground black pepper
Toast your slices of ciabatta in a 400-degree oven for 7-12 minutes or until golden brown, or use a grill until golden brown. While they’re still hot, rub them gently with the cut side of the garlic, just two swipes of a garlic clove over the top of each crostini, drizzle with good-quality extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  Finish with a scoop of caponata or your favorite topping.

***UPDATE:  I have submitted this recipe as October's YBR submission.  For more information of what YBR is, click on the button below which will take you to Spicie Foodie's site:

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  1. This looks wonderful! :) Found you through YBR, love the blog!

  2. Thank you! I haven't updated in a bit but I'm hoping to get back to it after we get power back to our apartment. We got hit hard with the October snow storm in the NE. 17 inches of the white stuff!

  3. This does sound and look wonderful! I love these types of foods, so healthy and delicious. Thanks for sharing & for being a part of the YBR!

  4. Thank you Nancy for giving us all an opportunity to share our recipes with the world! This dish is one of my favorites. It is low calorie, and a savory way to get those necessary veggies back into the daily diet.