One of my first jobs was in the kitchen of an Italian wine bar. It was an incredible learning experience that came with some unquestionable gustatory delights. But of all amazing wines I got to taste and the amazing food I was exposed to, it was their caponatina, a kind of pickled eggplant stew, that made the greatest impact on me. I couldn’t get enough of it and had been craving it for years after I stopped working there. So, when I found this recipe in Ada Boni’s The Talisman Italian Cook Book I jumped at the chance to attempt my old favourite. Luckily, the recipe did not disappoint. It was everything I remember it was.
4 eggplants (medium size)
1 1/2 cups olive oil
4 onions, sliced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4 celery stalks, diced
1/2 cup capers
12 green olives, chopped
1 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 cup wine vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
- Peel, dice and fry eggplant in 1 cup of olive oil. Remove eggplant and set aside.
- Add remaining oil and cook onions until lightly browned.
- Add tomato sauce and celery. Cook until tender, adding water if necessary.
- Add capers, olives, pine nuts as well as the cooked eggplant.
- In a separate sauce pan, heat vinegar and dissolve sugar into it. Pour into the eggplant stew. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.