Caponata (version XXVI)

Sicilian Eggplant Salad with Capers and Green Olives

1 large eggplant (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds), unpeeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped; of 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2/3 cup pitted green olives, halved
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon pine nuts (optional)

Cut eggplant into 1-inch dice. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy skillet or sauté pan. Add eggplant and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring a few times, for 3 minutes. Remove eggplant from skillet.

Heat remaining tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add onion and celery, and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Return eggplant to pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar, then vinegar. Add olives, capers, and pine nuts. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until eggplant is tender. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve cold or at room temperature. (Caponata can be kept, covered, 4 to 5 days in refrigerator.)

Makes 5 or 6 appetizer servings.

From Faye Levy’s International Vegetable Cookbook

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