This Guest Recipe comes to us from Susan Jane who brilliantly writes about a legacy and experience through food. Amazing! This post was originally posted on Zara’s Hungry timeline, and I’m really pleased to bring it to you all here.
This delicious recipe was passed on to me by my mother-in-law. It was her motherin-law’s, who was Sicilian. When we went to Sicily for a family wedding a few years ago, we tasted their caponata (among other amazing dishes). It tasted exactly like what I had been making, so I love that we are truly enjoying a family recipe from the old country. You will never buy caponata in any grocery store again. This beats Al Forno’s in Providence, and that’s saying a lot.
(sometimes I double the recipe because it goes fast!)
2 medium eggplants
4 stalks of celery, diced
3 medium onions, sliced thin
1 1/2 C good olive oil…maybe more!
1 small can tomato paste (about 3/4 C)
2-3 Tbs capers, rinsed thoroughly (I use small jar)
12-18 black olives, chopped (I use a whole can)
12 green olives, chopped (I use the whole jar, drained)
1 1/2 Tbs pine nuts (I use whole small jar)
1/4 C red wine vinegar
2 Tbs granulated sugar
salt and pepper
Parboil celery for two minutes in medium saucepan, drain, and set aside.
Slice eggplants in 3/4″ slices, lay on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 30 min., then rinse the salt off and pat dry.
Cut into 1″ cubes.
In a large fry or saute pan, saute eggplant pieces in 1 C olive oil until slightly browned and then remove to a large bowl. ((I add more olive oil while cooking if the eggplant is sticking and appears too dry. It should be soft).
Saute the onions in the pan, adding more oil, as needed. (See what I mean about needing more oil than the recipe called for?)
Add everything else, including eggplant and celery, to the onions and sauté, mixing every few minutes.
The longer the pan full of delicious ingredients sautés and blends the better. Stir it often so it doesn’t stick. After a half hour, the ingredients break down a little and the flavor becomes more full.
Keeps in the refrigerator for two weeks (if it’s not eaten right away!) and can be frozen for up to six months. Great food gift with an Italian dish towel or other accessory.
Delicious appetizer served on crostini, crackers, etc. Great spread on a sandwich, with or without parmesan, or meats. Stir into a pasta salad to add a rich full flavor and color.
Thanks for the food love to June and Tina Pizzolato.