Fresh made Caponata

For a tomato cooking class last night we made Caponata. Someone once asked me what it was, and I said kind of like salsa-  only with Italian ingredients. Not sure if that sums it up, but Caponata is a mix of several vegetables with some seasonings.

Caponata can be served cold, at room temperature or hot. I enjoy it as an appetizer with crusty bread but I also add it to marinara sauce, top pizza with it or add it to vegetable stock with some cannelini beans for a great vegetarian soup. While my version does not contain capers- I sometimes add them. They marry well with the other flavors in this dish.

This is one of those vegetarian dishes that everyone seems to love.  The version here is vegan- but you could add a few curls of Parmesan on the top.


2 small eggplants, unpeeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, about 5-6 cups

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 c. olive oil, or a little more

4 celery ribs, sliced

2 sweet peppers, seeded and chopped

1 heaping tablespoon chopped garlic

3 tomatoes, chopped- or 1 (14.5) can diced tomatoes- undrained

1 c. sliced black olives

3-4 T. red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste*

Soak eggplant in salted water for at least 15 minutes. Rinse, drain and pat dry. Set aside. Meanwhile in skillet cook onion in 2 tablespoons of the oil until tender. Add the celery and cook until the celery is tender-crisp. Place mixture in a mixing bowl and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons more of the oil and cook the peppers until tender. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the tomatoes and cook 1 minute longer. Add this mixture to onion mixture and return skillet to the heat. Add remaining oil to skillet and cook eggplant until golden brown and tender. You may have to do this in 2 batches. Add remaining ingredients to bowl while eggplant is cooking. When eggplant is done add it to the bowl and mix well., Season to taste. Serve with crusty breads cold, hot or at room temperature. Serves 10-12.

* While I don’t have any herbs listed in the ingredients I often add oregano and basil or an Italian or Tuscan seasoning blend. I also like to add capers.

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