I make this dish several times during the year, not just during the holidays because it's easy to make and can be served room temperature or cold, it's almost a perfect appetizer to serve in the warmer weather since it won't spoil as quickly as other dishes.
What I love about this dish in today's eat healthy, make it easy and flexible cooking style is it hits all the marks - it's healthy, low in fat and calories and it's easy to prepare, and not to mention it is flexible - add in what you like and leave out what you don't.
I have re-made Nonna's recipe which calls for cutting the eggplant into cubes and fry in oil. The eggplant absorbs much of the oil so to cut back on calories and time I roast the cubed eggplant with the shallots. It's easier, the taste is sweeter, and it's less calories.
While the eggplant is roasting you can prepare the remainder of the ingredients saving time along with those calories. From start to finish you will need 50 minutes or less.
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 large shallots, cut in large slices
- 1 large sweet onion, cut in 1/2" cubes
- 4 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and cubed
- 1 cup green Sicilian olives, pitted & halved
- 1 cup black Sicilian olives, pitted & halved
- 1 jar marinated artichokes, lightly rinsed & cut in chunks
- 1 TBLS. capers
- 1 TBLS. pine nuts
- 1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 TBLS. Balsamic Vinegar
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut up the eggplant and shallots and place on a sheet pan lined in parchment paper and toss with olive oil to coat (use aluminum foil with a little cooking spray if you don't have parchment). This takes approximately 40 minutes.
- While eggplant is roasting, cut up onions and celery and saute in 1 TBLS. olive oil in a large saucepot (approx. 3 1/2 qt.) approximately 8-10 minutes or until opaque, stirring often.
- Add in the roasted eggplant and shallots stirring to blend then add in the tomato sauce and simmer on med/low heat.
- Cut up the olives and artichokes and add in to the saucepan with the nuts and capers and continue to cook until flavors are well blended, approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Add in the Balsamic vinegar and stir to blend simmer 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
This is a delicious vegetarian recipe that can be served with almost any type of meal. It's also perfect for a buffet. It is usually served at room temperature, although it can be served hot over pasta (Nonna always served it cold as an appetizer and sometimes we would have it in a sandwich for lunch).
Serving suggestions: As an appetizer on garlic toast slices or with crackers. For warm weather entertaining, serve the caponata in a bowl and place it on a platter of ice. It will stay on the buffet table as long as the temps are average and it's not in direct sun.
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