Caponata is a delicious eggplant dish served all over Sicily. It’s made with creamy caramelized eggplant, crisp celery, olives and capers soaked in sweet and sour tomato sauce.
- 1 ½ pounds eggplant (1 large), roasted
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little for oiling the roasting pan
- 1 medium onion, chopped (2 cups)
- 2 stalks celery, from the inner, tender stalks (the heart), diced (1/2 cup)
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt plus more to taste
- 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes (in puree) or 1 pound ripe tomatoes, preferably romas, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 heaping tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted green olives
- 2 tablespoons plus a pinch of coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- Peel the eggplant (leaving small strips of the peel on) and cut it into 1″ cubes. Lay them on a large oiled baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes turn or stir the pieces. Put back into the oven for about 20 minutes more until the eggplant is tender and some of the pieces are caramelized. If it looks like it’s beginning to burn cover with foil.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet and add the onion and celery. Cook, stirring, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic. Cook together for a minute, until the garlic begins to smell fragrant.
- Add the peppers and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring, until just about tender, about 8 minutes.
- Add another tablespoon of oil and the eggplant, stir together for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down somewhat and they smell fragrant.
- Add the capers, olives, remaining sugar, and vinegar. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring often, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are thoroughly tender and the mixture is quite thick, sweet, and fragrant. Cover the pan if it begins to dry out.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Add pine nuts.
- Allow to cool to room temperature. If possible, cover and chill overnight. Serve at room temperature.
- Category: Appetizer, Salad
- Cuisine: Sicilian, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-free