What is Italian Caponata?

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Caponata is a lesser known recipe among the world of antipasto dishes.  Some would prefer to call this dish a relish.

The main ingredient is eggplant and you use it as a topping on toasted Italian garlic bread.  But it is not eggplant alone that this recipe calls for.  Caponata uses other ingredients as well.  It is a terrific recipe suitable for those on a diet like the Mediterranean diet.   For those who are not dieting, it is still a great recipe to try!

Start with one large eggplant and cut it into cubes no greater than 1/2 inch.  The smaller the better.  If the eggplant is not organic and you are concerned about the skin, peel it.

Drain the eggplant by placing the eggplant in a strainer over a bowl and sprinkling it with salt.  Let sit for about 30 minutes.  Draining eggplant helps remove the bitterness of the eggplant, and if you have time I strongly recommend it.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bring a medium to large pan of water to a boil.  Take 3-4 stalks of celery and chop coarsely.  Add in the celery and boil for 1 minute, then remove the celery and set aside.

Soak some currents, about ½ C, in some red wine vinegar until they have softened.

Take a bag of slivered almonds and toast them and set aside.

Your eggplant should be drained by now so pat them dry with paper towels and fry eggplant in olive oil over medium high heat in a deep skillet.  You will need about one and 1/4 cups of olive oil for this.  Do not use extra virgin if you don’t have to, you can use pure olive oil for frying.

Once the eggplant is golden brown on both sides set aside to drain.  You might have to do this in a few batches.

Using either the same skillet or a new one saute a medium size onion which has been chopped. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add back in the celery and cook for 1 minute, then add in the currants with the vinegar, along with a handful of kalamata olives (or Italian olives if you have any) making sure all pits are removed.

Add in some capers, a tablespoon of sugar and a quarter cup of tomato paste.  Mix well and simmer for 10 minutes then add in the eggplant until heated through.

When finished, set aside until it is at  room temperature and serve with bruscetta, by itself, or on top of bed of lettuce.  Be creative!

This Italian recipe will keep for few days in the refrigerator and is best when served at room temperature.  It will serve between four and six people.  It is also a great recipe for a party where you are serving various crackers and relishes.

The one thing about this recipe is that it will take awhile to make.  So I would not recommend it if you are in a hurry and it is your first I’m making it.  I would stick with something like anti pasto or bruscetta.  But if you can, try this classic Italian dish!


Easy Italian Recipes

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