This is the caponata that led to my downfall – literally. I wish I could say that Saturday’s visit to the emergency room came after a fall on my Harley or a tumble on roller blades (as happened to my 87 year-old father a few years ago). No, nothing that exciting here – just a mundane walk to harvest a few last eggplants and down I went after a misstep on a piece of wood in the garden.
Consequently, hobbling on crutches put a crimp on my cooking for a couple of days, but I managed to finally get myself back to the kitchen and show those miscreant eggplants who’s boss. While a sprained ankle and a few loose bone chips may slow me down for a bit, I’m not about to let a 2 x 4 and some eggplant defeat my feet.
Years ago, I took some caponata to the newsroom where I worked. It was a hit, particularly with Chris, a colleague who asked for the recipe. Good thing, because I had to ask him for it recently when I couldn’t find my own copy. Lucky for me, he still had it and sent it back to me via email. This time however, I changed it a bit and added some white raisins to sweeten it up a bit. I think he’d like it even better now. I hope you do too.
2 medium eggplants, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 or 3 large sticks of celery, diced
1/2 green pepper, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup green olives, chopped
3-5 T. capers
about 1 cup of fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or 1 large can of tomatoes)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 T. sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Peel the eggplants or leave unpeeled if you prefer. I like to make big “stripes” by peeling away half of the eggplants. Saute the eggplant pieces, celery and onion (and green pepper if using) in the oil in a large pan until soft. Add the olives, capers, tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts and cook for another 20 minutes or 1/2 hour. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and red wine vinegar and cook until the sugar dissolves. Pour it into the pot with the eggplant and stir.
This tastes best at room temperature and improves after a day, when the flavors have had a chance to blend. Serve as a side dish or on sliced, grilled bread as an appetizer.
This recipe makes A LOT. I put several containers in the freezer to pull out in the future for a quick appetizer when company comes.