Caponata is a traditional Sicilian dish made from eggplant that has been stewed in a sweet and sour sauce, served on crostini. While cooking eggplant may seem intimidating, this dish is a great introduction to the product. Because it is stewed, the bitterness of the eggplant mellows over time, creating a very accessible yet sophisticated dish.
Wine Paring Suggestion:
2011 Petit Petit from Michael David Winery. This Petit Sirah, Petit Verdot blend provides the perfect balance of fruit forward flavors and acidity. It is the perfect paring for the rich flavors from the tomato paste and long cooking time as well as the meatiness of the eggplant.
Step by step directions:
Start by prepping all of your vegetables. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. When the oil starts to shimmer, add eggplant, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Lower the temperature to medium low and cook until vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes).
Raise the heat to medium high and create a hot spot in the middle of the pan. Add the tomato paste and allow it to caramelize for 2-3 minutes.
Add the capers, vinegar, sugar, golden raisins and thyme. Season again with salt and pepper. Drop heat to low, cover, and cook for 40-90 minutes (depending on the texture you’d like to achieve). Stir a few times during cooking, and add a tablespoon or two of water if the mixture starts sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Allow caponata to cool and serve on a crostini
4 TBS olive oil
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into small cubes, about 4 cups total
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
¼ cup roughly chopped golden raisin
4 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup capers
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crostini to serve