Back in January a friend hosted an Italian-themed dinner party for his birthday and I brought along this eggplant caponata dish. It is tangy and delicious, and made a great counterpoint to the rich cheese and carb-heavy dishes on offer. Plus, it was super simple to whip up which was ultra important as I made it whilst simultaneously packing up my kitchen!
I slightly amended a recipe I found on Food and Wine
- 2tbs capers
- Large eggplant
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Medium onion
- 3 celery ribs
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 tbs red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 1tbs pine nuts
- Half a bunch of flat leaf parsley
- Drain the capers and cover with water and let sit for 15 minutes before draining
- Dice the eggplant
- Heat 3tbs of the oil in a large pan and cook the eggplant under browned on all sides, around 15 minutes
- Meanwhile, dice the onion, celery and tomato
- Remove the eggplant from the pan and heat the remaining 1tbs oil
- Cook the onion and celery on low heat, covered, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until softened
- Add the tomato and cook for a further 5 minutes
- Meanwhile, combine the red wine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring regularly. Add the capers and pine nuts and cook for another minute
- Add the eggplant to the pan and then stir in the vinegar mixture. Cook for 3 minutes, then season with salt and pepper
- Remove from the pan and leave to cool to room temperature
- When ready to serve dice the avocado and roughly chop the parsley. Toss through and spoon into a serving dish
The vinegary dressing, complete with capers, really made this eggplant caponata zing. I don’t think avocado is all that traditional, but it did add a delicious creamy element to the dish which everyone seemed to enjoy.
Amongst the risotto and oh-so-cheesy eggplant melanzane the tang of this dish was definitely appreciated – although it wouldn’t have been an Italian feast without a lot of cheese! Needless to say we had to pace ourselves to make sure we all left room for dessert!
I love that this eggplant caponata only needed one pan and one little saucepan, and not much in the way of pantry staples either. Given most of my kitchen was already packed up for my impending renovations that was about all I could manage! It’s an excellent dish to mostly make in ahead as well, just add the avocado and parsley right at the end and you’re good to go!