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Caponata

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This sweet-and-sour eggplant mélange has its roots in Southern Italy. It can be enjoyed as a side dish or as part of an antipasto platter. Best served at room temperature, caponata is also terrific spooned onto crackers, as a crostini topping, or even served over pasta. Make the caponata at least a few hours ahead of time or the day before so the flavors have a chance to blend before serving.

Serves6

Cooking Time6 min

Cooking Time - Text360

Cooking Methodsauteeing, slow cooking

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseantipasto/mezze, side dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Equipmentcrock pot

Mealdinner

Taste and Textureherby, salty, savory, sweet, tart

Type of Dishdip/spread

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, minced
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium-size red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup black olives, drained, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant begins to soften, about 5 more minutes.

  2. Transfer the mixture to a 4-quart slow cooker. Add the bell pepper, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on Low until the vegetables are soft but still hold some shape, about 6 hours.

  3. When the vegetables are cooked, stir in the olives, capers, and parsley. Taste to adjust the seasonings. Transfer the caponata to a bowl and let cool. Serve at room temperature. If not serving right away, cover and refrigerate until needed.

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