Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant Caponata – I made this appetizer for a fundraiser for my chorale group.  Many have asked for the recipe.  Also  makes a great pasta sauce (you can thin it by adding an additional cup of tomato sauce).

by microwaving the eggplant to partially cook it, you will need less oil than the traditional dish and consume fewer calories.

  • 1 medium eggplant, stem removed and cut into ½” cubes
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 crookneck squash cut into ½” cubes
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups prepared chunky tomato sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp wine vinegar
  • 1 dozen pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 tsp capers, drained
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp each dried basil and oregano
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ½ cup parsley
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

 

Cut up eggplant and put it in a colander.  Sprinkle it with kosher salt and mix well with your hands.  Leave it in the sink to drain for about 10 minutes.  While eggplant is salting, prepare remaining vegetables.  Layer them in a large mixing bowl in the order above.  Drain and chop olives, drain capers and mince herbs. 

Rinse the eggplant well and drain it.  Put it in a large microwave-safe bowl and toss it with 2 tbsp olive oil.  Microwave the eggplant on high for about ten minutes, stirring it occasionally to make sure it is evenly cooked.

While eggplant is microwaving, heat up the remaining olive oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet.  Add onion and celery, and sauté for about five minutes.  Add garlic and bell pepper and sauté for about five minutes more.  Add the eggplant, tomato sauce, ketchup, vinegar, olives capers, cranberries, basil, oregano and rosemary.  Stir well.  Bring to boil and then turn heat down to medium low.  Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Stir in squash and simmer for about 15 minutes more, or until eggplant is very soft.  If the mixture gets too thick during the cooking process, add a little water, ½ cup at a time.  The finished product should be thick and chunky. 

Salt and pepper to taste.  Let cool to room temperature.  Just before serving, stir in ¼ cup parsley and 3 tbsp pine nuts.  Garnish with remaining parsley and pine nuts.  Serve with bread rounds, or serve as a pasta sauce.

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