Caponata is one of my favorite ways to eat eggplant.  This is a great time of year to make caponata as you should have loads of eggplant and peppers in the garden.  You should have a lot of onions still put up in the pantry and oregano is still fresh and wonderful.  Basil is at it’s peak and you probably still have some tomatoes on your shelf.  If you didn’t can any Muir Glen makes a great Organic tomato product.

Caponata is a sweet and sour vegetable dish that is typically served as  a side dish with pork roast or fish.  It is also served as an antipasto spooned over toasted bread.  It makes wonderful sandwiches.  I love to eat it by the bowlful!

1/4 cup olive oil

1 stalk celery

1 medium eggplant – cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 medium onion chopped

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes with basil and garlic with juices

3 Tbl raisins

1 tsp fresh oregano

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

4 tsp turbinado sugar

1 Tbl drained capers

1/2 tsp sea salt plus more to taste

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste

12 Fresh basil leaves for garnish

  1. In a large cast iron or heavy skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add celery and saute’ about 3 minutes until crisp tender.
  2.   Add the eggplant and saute and saute’ for 2 minutes until beginning to soften.
  3.   Add the onion and saute for 3 minutes until translucent.
  4. Add the red pepper and saute for 5 minutes until crisp-tender.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes with the juices, raisins, and oregano.  Simmer about 20 minutes over a medium-low heat to blend the flavors and thicken the mixture. Stir often.
  6. Add the vinegar, sugar, capers, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir well. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. (It should be perfect!)
  7. Transfer caponata to serving bowls, using kitchen shears cut basil leaves in fine strips on top of caponata.  serve with bread, crackers, meat, as a side dish or by itself.



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