(about 3 1/2 cups)
This summer I have mostly had cravings for sweet and sour, such as this delicious caponata. As was the case with several other dishes I have made recently, caponata is perfect for making ahead. It keeps for several days and is at its best at room temperature, either as an appetizer or a side for something such as grilled fish. This Sicilian dish has many versions and to be honest, mine is always a bit different depending on what I have on hand. I’ve made it with Kalamata olives, currants, roasted red bell pepper and toasted walnuts or pine nuts.
Eggplant has a tendency to soak up copious amounts olive oil, if you aren't careful. I used a non-stick skillet which allowed me to use a lesser quantity of oil than what you’d typically expect to find in a dish such as this.
1 medium eggplant, (about 1.5 lb)
about 1 tsp salt
up to 3 tbsp olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, pressed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp double concentrated tomato paste
4 plum (roma) tomatoes diced
1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
2 tbsp capers, drained
freshly ground black pepper
a few pinches of red pepper flakes, to taste
Wash the eggplant, then slice it into 1/2 inch slices. Lay them out in one layer and sprinkle evenly with salt. Set aside for about an hour.
The eggplant will have begun to sweat. Using a kitchen towel, dry off each piece, then slice it into cubes. Set aside.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over a medium-low flame. Add about 2 tsp olive oil and when it's hot, add the garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant, then add the onion. Stir to combine everything evenly.
Adjust the heat as necessary and saute the onion mixture until it's an even golden brown; this can take up to 20 minutes.
Remove the onion and garlic mixture, set those aside and return the skillet to the stove top. Increase the heat to about medium-high. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and when it's hot, add the eggplant. Drizzle another tbsp of olive oil evenly over the top of the eggplant.
Saute the eggplant for about 10-12 minutes, stirring it frequently with a wooden spoon.
Combine the wine vinegar, water, agave nectar and tomato paste in a small container. Pour that over the eggplant. Add the tomatoes, green olives and capers. Dust with a liberal amount of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch or more of red pepper flakes. Stir until everything is well combined.
Cook, stirring from time to time, for another 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
Allow to cool to room temperature before serving. This will keep refrigerated for several days.