The first time I ate Sicilian Caponata was maybe 20 years ago. A friend gave a few of us a jar tied with a pretty ribbon as a thank you gift. We all said thank you and nothing else was said about the caponata, I didn't even know what it was. By the next morning we were all killing ourselves to find Gwen and get the recipe. This is one of those recipes that you can use for anything, appetizer, salad, on crackers, bread, focaccia is my favorite, or grab a spoon and eat out of the jar.
Caponata combines the flavors of Sicily in a special treat. It keeps well in the refrigerator and is perfect for drop-in-visitors, or as a gift.
2/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 large eggplant
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup shopped onions
1/2 cup diced green peppers
1/2 cup diced celery
1 can (14-15 ounces) plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 cup sliced olives
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon basil (fresh or dried)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
5 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Heat oil with garlic in a heavy skillet. Dice the eggplant in pieces about 1/2' by 1 1/2', leaving the skin on. Saute until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt, then remove the pan. In the same pan, saute the onions, capers, and tomatoes with the remaining ingredients.
Return eggplant to the pan. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, on a low flame for 20 minutes, stirring now and then. Remove from the heat. Place in a pretty bowl and refrigerate. Serve with bread, crackers or may be served as a salad on a lettuce leaf; number of servings depend on how the caponata is used.