Caponata--anybody know how to eat this stuff?

  1. I have googled this and only come up with the same recipe over and over....

    I found this recipe in a cookbook of governors' favorites and I loved the ingredients. I cooked it, it turned out great and here's my question.

    The last line says, "chill and serve." Serve how? In a dish like a sort of cooked salad? Reheated? (surely not.) With or on bread, like a bruschetta?

    Anybody who knows anything about this wonderful dish, please clue me in.

    BTW, it was the recipe from Maine in the cookbook....

  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   mercyteapot
    Whenever I've had it, it has been served as a crudite, on toasted bread or as a spread for water crackers. Mind you, I'm not the most sophisticated person in the world, but if I were to make it to serve, I think I'd do it the same way.
  4. by   Energizer Bunny
    I'll bite.....what the heck is it???????
  5. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Mercyteapot, thank you!!!! I just didn't know.

    CNM2B, it is a terrific concoction of olive oil sauteed vegetables that is dressed with a little vinegar and sugar, a few anchovies (I mushed mine up, although recipe didn't say to--we Texans are loathe to find whiskery fish in our food!), some capers.... then chilled and served. I tasted it while still warm and fell in love. (DH, move over....!)

    (Now I find a site that describes it as an eggplant relish....)

    Here is the URL for the little "cookbook" I found the recipe in. Caponata is from Maine (at least here....), and notice the into by Jim Belushi (I just love him.....)

    Thanks again, and Happy Independence Day!

  6. by   Energizer Bunny
    Oh my gosh!!! That DOES sound good and since no one around me likes anchovies but me I wouldn't have to share! LOL!
  7. by   dianah
    I love an olive tapenade, on melba toast! Yum! Your recipe sounds good, hope others enjoy it as well. I've made "different," new recipes for some potlucks, and because they were exactly that, different and new, they were hardly touched. Some people are more comfortable with ONLY potato salad and chocolate chip cookies. Ah well, more for you!! Have a great time! -- D
  8. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Just got back from the family get together. The caponata went over very well. Dad said he'd have a taste, and before it even got on his plate said, eggplant is on my do-not-eat list (as in, "I do not eat it"). He took one bite, brought his plate back for more and didn't leave so much as a smudge!

    When I told him he had eaten eggplant (he knew before hand, of course, I'm not into those kinds of "surprises"), he said he knew that.

    But the best part was the chicken. Use that URL above and go to Georgia. I have never in my entire life tasted chicken this good and moist. Wow.

    (And I am every bit as chunky as I sound..... LOL)
  9. by   BBFRN
    I make mine with the veggies cooked on the grill, and served cold on garlic texas toast. Mmmmmm...haven't made it yet this Summer.
  10. by   nurseygrrl
    I have used it as a middle layer in's out of this world...yum!
  11. by   Energizer Bunny
    You there an actual recipe anyone can post for me? Can you leave the anchovies out for those that don't like them?
  12. by   nurseygrrl

    I make mine using eggplant, red, yellow, and orange peppers, onions, plum tomatoes, olive oil, garlic to taste, chopped fresh basil and whatever other fresh spices I'm in the mood for, sometimes olives, a touch of sugar (to contrast the bitterness of the tomatoes), salt and pepper to taste. I chop all these ingredients into small cubes and sautee them in the olive oil in a skillet. When everything softens I put the mixture in the oven to bake a little bit and get the liquid out. It's ready when it resembles a chunky paste (that phrase sounds appetizing doesn't it? :chuckle ) After that you're supposed to chill it, but I like mine warm.

    I don't really have a recipe, I just add ingredients to taste. I usually cook like that.

    P.S. You can leave out/add things to your liking.
    Last edit by nurseygrrl on Jul 5, '04 : Reason: To add a p.s. :o)
  13. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from CNM2B
    You there an actual recipe anyone can post for me? Can you leave the anchovies out for those that don't like them?
    This recipe came from Italian Food Forever. I never actually made it, but it sounds similar to the types I've had. You can leave the anchovies out, but you'll miss out on that musky saltiness. I recommend adding paste if it is the texture of the anchovies that is presenting the problem, which in my experience, is usually the case.

    It makes a tasty nibble that is wonderful party fare, or can be an appetizer for an informal dinner. I have prepared it ahead and froze it before a party, and have also canned it when eggplants were flourishing in my garden.

    3 Small Eggplants

    2 Teaspoons Salt

    1/3 Cup Olive Oil

    3 Small Onions, Chopped

    2 to 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced

    2 Stalks Of Celery, Chopped

    1 (28oz.) Can Chopped Tomatoes

    1/2 Cup Olives, Green or Black, Chopped

    1/4 Cup Capers

    1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley

    1/4 Cup Wine Vinegar

    Salt & Pepper

    Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

    To Serve:

    Garlic Toast

    Peel the eggplants, and cut into 1 inch pieces. Put in a colander, sprinkle with the salt and leave 30 minutes. In a large pan, add a few tablespoons of the oil, and when hot add the onions, and cook until soft. Add the celery and garlic, and cook 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook an additional 10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick.

    Rinse the salt from the eggplant and pat dry. Add the rest of the oil into a frying pan and once it is hot, add the diced eggplant. Cook until the eggplant is tender and turning golden brown. Add the eggplant to the tomato mixture with the rest of the ingredients, and cook on low for another 15 minutes. Check the seasonings and let come to room temperature before serving.

    Tip For Serving: I like to serve the caponata in an attractive ceramic container, or in a hollowed out shiny eggplant, surrounded by garlic toasts with which to spread it on.

    Variation: You can try using either green or black olives. I personally prefer black olives in this recipe. By substituting balsalmic vinegar for the wine vinegar you can get a richer, heartier flavor. Peppers, either red or green could be chopped and added if you desire. Just cook them before you add the eggplant to the pan.
  14. by   BBFRN
    I use anchovie paste, too- not as I don't like anchovie fillets in cold dishes- the paste works much better. I also use pine nuts, black olives, and cilantro- not regular parsley.