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Eggplant Caponatina

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caponatinaEggplant Caponatina is a Sicilian treat, sort of a relish that  melds the flavors of many traditional ingredients. When you look at the recipe the ingredients probably wouldn’t make your list of go togethers.  I can tell you however, the flavor is amazing and even those who ‘fear’ the eggplant will love this and probably ask you where it is.

As a kid, whenever this delicacy made it to the counter, we KNEW there was a party afoot.  It makes a warm, rustic appetizer, perfect with beef or almost anything. I always asked for this on my birthday, and as you can guess with a winter birthday, there are no eggplants fresh. But mama would make this stuff in the spring, jar it into ball mason jars and BAM, we had it all year round. These days, its easier to find fresh produce year round of course. But, if you’re loving this recipe, you might want to plant some eggplant in your garden this year just so you can truly enjoy it year round.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Caponatina

The flavors in this Sicilian caponatina, although traditional, are a bit unexpected for most of us. It’s an unlikely mix of characters. Eggplant. Cocoa powder. Tomato. Cinnamon. Balsamic Vinegar. Currants. Pine Nuts.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Debbie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant peeled and diced small to tiny
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup small diced onions
  • 1 cup small diced celery
  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes peeled, seeded and small diced
  • 10 Calamata olives pitted and halved
  • 10 Sicilian olives pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup white raisins soaked in water for 20 minutes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • ½ tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar

Instructions

  • In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of the olive oil.
  • When the oil is hot, add the eggplant. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the cinnamon, sugar and cocoa powder
  • Saute until the eggplant is soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the eggplant and set aside.
  • In the same saute pan, over medium heat, add 2 more tablespoons of the oil.
  • Add the onions. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Saute until wilted and lightly golden, about 4 minutes.
  • Remove the onions and set aside.
  • In the same saute pan, over medium heat, add 2 more tablespoons of the oil.
  • Add the celery. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Saute until wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • In the same large saute pan, over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.
  • When the oil is hot, add the eggplant, onions, celery, tomatoes, olives, raisins, capers, vinegar Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and turn into a serving bowl.
  • Cool the mixture slightly and serve with crostini or crusty Italian bread

This recipe had been in our family for years, embellished on and loved by many.

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