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Heather's caponata

Heather's caponata
Los Angeles Times

Caponata is a flavorful, sweet-sour Sicilian cooked salad composed of eggplant, onions, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, olive oil and vinegar. It's subject to as many variations as there are cooks who prepare it. Typically served as an antipasto, salad side dish ... Read more

Active work time: 45 minutes | Total preparation time: 1 hour | Serves 12
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled, cut into 2/3-inch dice
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 small stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 3 zucchini, cut into 2/3-inch dice
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 2/3-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, optional

Step 1Place the eggplant in a colander. Toss with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let rest for 30 minutes. Rinse well with cold water, shaking the colander to remove as much water as possible.

Step 2Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Step 3Add the rinsed eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, thyme, 1 tablespoon of salt, the basil and oregano. Cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice, vinegar and honey. Stir well. Simmer, uncovered, until the eggplant is just tender but keeps its shape and is not soft or mushy, about 5 to 7 minutes more. Taste; season to taste with pepper and salt. Stir in the pine nuts, if using.

Note: This can be made up to four days ahead and refrigerated. Before serving, stir well and adjust the seasoning.


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