Caponata: A Sicilian Style Eggplant Dish by Chef MJ Adams
As featured on Savor Dakota Episode 2: Summer
2 firm, medium-sized eggplants
1 large red pepper
1 container of cherry tomatoes or 5 Roma tomatoes
1 small red onion
2 medium-sized zucchini
1 1/2 T. of capers (Rinse 3 times if salted)
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. vinegar (I prefer apple, honey or champagne)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
salt and pepper
good-quality olive oil
1 1/2 T. each of currants and pine nuts (Optional, but this and the capers make the dish Sicilian)
- Trim stem from eggplant. Cut eggplant in half, lengthwise. Take each half and cut into fourths, lengthwise. Take each quarter-length and cut into quarter-sized pieces.
- Eggplants from the farmer’s market are usually fresh and therefore not bitter and require no salt. If the eggplant does need salt, sprinkle 1/2 T. of salt on cut pieces and leave them in a colander to drain at least 15 minutes to blanch out bitterness.
- Trip stem from zucchini. Cut the same size as eggplant by sliding in half lengthwise and then cut each half lengthwise again. Set aside.
- For cherry tomatoes, cut in half. For Romas, trim stem, then cut to match the zucchini by cutting in half lengthwise and then cutting each half lengthwise again. Set aside.
- Peel red onion and trim top. Cut so pieces match the size of the zucchini Set aside.
- Trim top and seeds from red pepper. Cut so pieces match zucchini. Set aside.
- Add ¼ cup olive oil to large skillet. Heat to medium-high. Place eggplant gently in pan.
- Lightly brown eggplant on each side. Add more oil if eggplant sticks.
- Remove eggplant and set aside.
- Add 1 T. oil. When oil is heated, add red pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add zucchini. Cook 5 minutes. Stir gently.
- Add tomato. Cook 5 minutes. Stir gently.
- Add T. tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar and capers.
- Bring to quick simmer until tomato paste dissolves. Add ¼ cup water if too thick.
- Add cooked eggplant. Stir gently.
- Add currants and pine nuts. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve at room temperature with feta or goat cheese and toasted baguette. Goes great with salmon, cod, or lamb chops.
Extra video content featuring MJ Adams and Michael Haskett preparing this summer caponata is available at watch.sdpb.org.