Italians first encountered eggplant through trading with the Arabs about the 13th century and it became part of the agriculture of Sicily. The egg-shaped fruits were either purple, white, or yellow and were grown only for their appealing ornamental qualities. Eggplant made its way into culinary acceptance and is now incorporated into many Mediterranean dishes.
The Sicilian dish, Caponata, is an eggplant stew or relish that can be used in a variety of ways. It makes a great vegetarian main dish, but it is usually served as a side dish, especially for fish. It is particularly good spread on crusty bread.
Caponata has that Sicilian affinity for “agrodolce” - sweet and sour. It is made with vinegar and sugar. It is a flavor explosion but can be made to suit your own particular tastes. You can adjust the vinegar to your liking and the sugar to your taste.
Total prep time: 1 hour
- 1 lb. peeled eggplant, small dice
- ¼ lb. diced white onion
- ¼ lb. diced celery
- 3 oz. marinara sauce
- ¼ cup diced kalamata olives
- 2 oz. red wine vinegar
- 2 oz. sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 oz. olive oil
- 1 oz. chopped parsley
- Sautee all veggies and add marinara
- Add vinegar and sugar
- Cook for 20 minutes
- Cool and add parsley
- Serve warm on grilled or toasted crusty bread
- Optional: top with crumbled goat cheese