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August Recipe - Caponata

Caponata is a Sicilian sweeter and brinier (owing to olives and capers) version of the French ratatouille. Because eggplant absorbs flavours like a sponge, it is particularly good in such a piglet dish. Like most eggplant dishes, this gets better overnight. It's meant to be served at room temperature.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds eggplant
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 28-oz can tomatos, undrained
  • 3 cups onion, sliced
  • 2 cups green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup black olives, halved
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup pine nuts (optional)

Method:

  1. Peel the eggplant and cut into 1-inch cubes
  2. Heat oil in a large, heavy sauté pan over medium heat
  3. Add eggplant, tomatoes, onion, green pepper & garlic
  4. Cook until eggplant is tender and seemingly melting, at least 30 minutes but longer will enhance flavors
  5. Add remaining ingredients, except pine nuts, and simmer for 15 minutes

Serve at room temperature (or even chilled) with pita chips or toasted baguette slices; sprinkled with optional pine nuts.

If serving with pine nuts, toast them in a 350° in oven until golden, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle over Caponata just before serving.