This robust spread is a treat from Sicily. Serve it on crostini or with crackers, pita bread or crudites such as celery sticks. It keeps, covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Cooking MethodSlow Cooking
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
OccasionBuffet, Game Day
Recipe CourseAntipasto/mezze, Snack
Dietary ConsiderationDiabetic, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Halal, Healthy, Kosher, Lactose-free, Low Sodium, Low-fat, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
MealDinner, Lunch, Snack
Taste and TextureGarlicky, Herby, Nutty, Rich, Salty, Savory, Umami
Type of DishDip/spread
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp (5 mL) packed brown sugar
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes and drained of excess moisture
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano leaves
- ½ tsp (2 mL) cracked black peppercorns
- 1 can (14 oz/398 mL) diced tomatoes, including juice
- ½ cup (125 mL) chopped pitted black olives
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) drained capers
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) toasted pine nuts
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) chiffonade of basil leaves, optional (see Notes)
In a small bowl, combine vinegar and brown sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the oil over mediumhigh heat for 30 seconds. Add eggplant, in batches, and cook, stirring and tossing, until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
In same skillet over medium heat, adding more oil if necessary, cook onion and celery, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, with juice, and balsamic mixture and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute to reduce liquid. Transfer to stoneware and stir thoroughly.
Cover and cook on Low for 7 to 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until eggplant is tender. Stir in olives and capers. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Garnish with pine nuts and basil, if using.
To cut the basil into chiffonade, stack the leaves, 4 at a time, roll them into a cigar shape and slice as thinly as you can.
Works best in a small (maximum 3½ quart) slow cooker.
Make ahead: You’ll achieve the best results if you make the caponata a day ahead and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
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2007 Judith Finlayson