Caponata (Eggplant Appetizer)
Yield - 2 Gallons
6 LBS EGGPLANTS (Cut into 3/4 inch cubes, with skin on)
2 TBSP SALT
1 QUART EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
2 LBS ONIONS (Diced fine)
1 LB CELERY (Chopped 1/2 inch lengths)
1 CUP FRESH GARLIC (Minced)
12 OZ TOMATO PASTE
2 TBSP GRANULATED GARLIC
1 -1/2 LBS STUFFED GREEN OLIVES (Chopped)
1 -1/2 CUPS BLACK OLIVES (Sliced)
1/2 CUP SPANISH CAPERS
14 OUNCES COSMOSS SWEET ROASTED PEPPERS (Chopped into 1/2 cubes)
2 TBSP BROWN SUGAR
1 CUP DRY VERMOUTH
1 CUP BALSAMIC VINEGAR
2 TSP BLACK PEPPER
1 TSP GROUND CAYENNE PEPPER
1 TSP WHITE PEPPER
1 TBSP OREGANO LEAVES
1 TSP WHOLE THYME LEAVES
1 TBSP DRIED SWEET BASIL LEAVES
1 CUP WHITE RIESLING WINE (or any very sweet after dinner white wine)
Sprinkle eggplant with the salt and allow the cubes to sweat for 15 minutes. Wash the salt off with plenty of cold water, drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Use a 10 quart Dutch oven and over medium/high heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil then add enough eggplant to cover the bottom of the Dutch oven. Fry the eggplant by turning frequently and lightly brown. Remove the eggplant and reserve warm, fry the remaining eggplant similarly until completed.
When you have finished frying the eggplant cubes lower the fire to medium/low and add an additional 1/2 cup of olive oil and add the onions. Slow simmer the onions until clear (about 10 minutes). Add the celery and fresh garlic then simmer for an additional 5 minutes (just enough to turn the celery a bright green). Now add the tomato paste and slow fry for an 10 minutes. (Stir constantly to eliminate the possibility of burning the paste and vegetables.)
Add the eggplant and remaining ingredients, except for the after dinner wine and simmer the caponata for 35 to 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, when done remove from heat, add the dinner wine and allow the caponata to cool to room temperature. Place in small containers and refrigerate.
Place the caponata in a serving bowl and serve slightly cold or at room temperature.
This is a must on any St. Joseph Day Altar or on almost any event when ya get 2 Sicilians together.
Also note that I like to use both fresh and granulated garlic in this recipe.
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Chef Emile L. Stieffel, Aurora Catering, Inc. email address: ChefEmile@CustomCatering.net
Copyright © 1995 Aurora Catering, Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 27, 2009.