Eggplant Caponata


Extra-virgin olive oil

3 or 4 small eggplants (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

Salt and pepper

1 onion, chopped

4 small celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup), blanched for 1 minute in boiling salted water, then cooled

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed

1 cup good-quality green olives, pitted

Pinch of crushed red pepper

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Put a wide cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add 4 tablespoons olive oil to coat surface of pan. When oil is wavy, test by adding a cube of eggplant. It should begin to sizzle and brown immediately. Fill the pan with a single layer of eggplant cubes. Turn eggplant with a spatula or tongs and brown nicely on all sides. Lower heat as necessary to maintain an even temperature; if the pan is too hot, the eggplant will burn.

Remove cooked eggplant to a plate and continue to fry remaining eggplant in batches, adding more oil as necessary. Season finished eggplant with salt and pepper. (Alternatively, roast the eggplant on a baking sheet at 400 degrees, lightly drizzled with oil, until cooked and nicely browned, about 20 minutes.)

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, season lightly with salt and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Stir in blanched celery, tomato paste, capers and olives. Add crushed red pepper, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar and wine. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Gently fold in cooked eggplant and simmer 2 or 3 minutes more. Taste cooking juices and adjust salt if necessary. Let mellow for 1 hour at room temperature (or make it a day in advance for fuller flavor). Sprinkle with parsley to serve. The caponata will keep for a week, refrigerated.


Calories: 140
Total Carbohydrates: 18 grams
Total Fat: 6 grams
Dietary fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Saturated fat: 0 grams
Sodium: 567 milligrams