A caponata is a dish that originates from Sicilian cuisine. The aroma and taste of a caponata are quite exotic but closely resembles the smell and flavors of Mediterranean cuisine. There are numerous variations to the ingredients that are used to prepare a caponata but this recipe only makes use of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices, which makes it perfect for vegetarians as well as those who follow a paleo diet. This recipe is intended for those who have a little more time to spend in the kitchen as there are quite a few steps to this dish.
Don’t Overcook Your Vegetables
When it comes to making a good caponata, cooking your ingredients to the exact firmness is crucial. Overcooking ingredients may result in a soggy texture especially with the eggplant. Cooking the eggplant directly in a pan could be difficult for those who are inexperienced as the skin may burn while the inside is still raw. Other cooking methods prefer steaming the eggplant which is recommended for those cooking a caponata for the first time. Additionally, the onions, celery, bell pepper, tomatoes, and olives should also be cooked until tender but not soggy. A kitchen timer should be used in order to avoid overcooking ingredients and possibly ruining the texture of this amazing dish.
Eat the Rainbow – A Good Rule of Thumb for Your Vegetable Intake
By taking a quick glance at the ingredients list, you can already tell that this recipe is very nutritious and is loaded with essential nutrients. Experts agree that consuming a wide spectrum of colors when it comes to vegetables is beneficial for good health. (1) The color of a vegetable is an indicator of some of the nutrients and phytonutrients they contain. (2) Each one is unique which is why consuming many colorful vegetables and fruits is important. Furthermore, the combination of the unique ingredients present in a caponata makes for an incredibly tasty dish.
As the saying goes, good things take time. Even though this dish is not the easiest and fastest to prepare, we can definitely say that making a caponata is worth your energy and time. Always remember to pay close attention when cooking your ingredients to avoid them being undercooked, overcooked or burned. We recommend cooking this dish with the help of a family member or friend and to make use of a digital kitchen timer. The flavors of Mediterranean cuisine pack a powerful punch and we’re sure you’re going to love the taste and aroma of this caponata to the very last bite.
- 1 ½ pounds eggplant, cubed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons green olives, pitted
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
- salt, black pepper to taste
- Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt then leave for 30 minutes.
- Rinse the eggplant and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan.
- Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Add the eggplant and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
- Add the peppers, garlic and celery and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan often, for 5 minutes.
- Add the capers, olives, honey and vinegar.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are thoroughly tender and the mixture is quite thick.
- Add the basil, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
- Let it come to room temperature and serve.
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