Recipe: Classic Eggplant Caponata

Ingredients for eggplant caponata

Eggplant Caponata ingredients from my garden

The garden fruits of summer are still going strong in September in Iowa, and with ingredients like these in my garden, my thoughts turn to Eggplant Caponata.

Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant relish that combines salty, sweet and tangy elements into one delicious stewy spread. I like it on pita chips. It’s also great spread on crusty baguette slices or served on the side of a protein like fish or eggs. It’s my second favorite way to eat eggplant after Eggplant Parmesan.

Eggplant Caponata does requirement a commitment. There are eggplants to be prepped, tomatoes to be peeled, vegetables to be chopped, and onions and celery to be caramelized. And after all of that prep work, you have to let the stuff sit for eight hours before you eat it. So be forewarned.

But the end result is worth it.

Make up a big batch; it keeps for days in the refrigerator. (It’s best to bring it up to room temperature before eating or to heat it and eat it warm.) You can live on it for a week – eat it with your eggs for breakfast, on your sandwich at lunch, and as a side dish for dinner. It’s a delicious way to get more veggies in your diet.

Prepping Eggplant for Cooking

To draw out any bitter juices from the eggplant (especially if using larger, older eggplants), try this kitchen hack:

Peel and slice eggplant into rounds and sprinkle slices evenly with salt. Transfer to a cooling rack over a baking sheet or kitchen towel and let drain for 30 minutes. When it comes time to cook the eggplant, rinse each slice under cold water to remove the excess salt and blot dry with a paper towel.

prepping eggplant

Prepping the eggplant for cooking.

Classic Eggplant Caponata

Classic Eggplant Caponata served with pita chips