When the garden started producing lots of eggplant, I started experimenting with caponata since I really like vegetable chutneys. But since it’s me, I failed to follow a recipe in any way. So this is a very non-traditional caponata that tastes excellent on crusty bread or pita.
I did start with recipes from Smitten Kitchen and Bon Appetit, augmenting them for the flavors I like. I really liked Smitten Kitchen’s inclusion of pine nuts for some textural contrast, but I didn’t have celery or olives, so I included peppers for flavor and reduced the onion a bit. I also changed up the flavors a bit with paprika and parsley.
I made a large batch of this for a party and it was one of the favorites.
- 1 ½ lb/750g eggplant, cut in ¾” chunks
- ½ lb/250g red onion (1 medium), diced finely
- ~ 1 ¼ lb/600g tomato, diced
- ~ ¼ lb/150g mild peppers (red or yellow bell, gypsy pepper, etc.), cut in ½” pieces
- ½ c/90g golden raisins
- 3 tbsp/45ml capers (in vinegar)
- ½ tsp/3ml paprika
- 4 tbsp/60 ml lemon juice
- ¾ tsp/4ml salt
- ½ tsp/3ml pepper
- 2 tsp/ chopped parsley
- ¼ c chopped basil
- 1 tbsp/15ml red wine vinegar
- ¼ c pine nuts
- Olive oil for frying eggplant
- In a large pan, heat ½” of olive oil on high. Add eggplant (in batches as necessary), so that none of the pieces overlap.
- Fry for 3-5 minutes, turning pieces regularly so that most of sides become browned and crisped.
- Remove from pan and allow to drain on paper towels. Add more oil as necessary to maintain about ½” in the pan (the eggplant absorbs some as it cooks).
- Once all eggplant is cooked, remove most of the oil from the pan so that it is just lightly coated. Reduce heat to medium.
- Sauté the onion until just starting to soften and turn opaque, 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato and sauté for a further 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to med-low. Add peppers, raisins, capers, and paprika and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in eggplant and remaining ingredients. Transfer to a covered bowl and allow to settle in fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.