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Italian Tapas For Fiesta Friday #32

Caponata

Caponata

Italian tapas, well it’s not really tapas in the truest sense of the word but it certainly can be eaten on small plates and it’s more of a prelude to the actual meal, I thought caponata, some good cheese and bread would be a nice addition to the party this week.Β Caponata is a Sicilian dish which is used as a side dish or condiment. I can remember my Mother serving on toasted Italian bread as a starter or appetizer. This is my version of my Mothers recipe, its less sweet and the vegetables are soft but still retain their shape.

Angie@The Novice Gardener is hosting this weeks event, she is always there for us and our co host is Hilda@along the grapevine. I hope everyone enjoys a little bit of Italy or Sicily. Buon Appetito!

Caponata

4 Italian eggplant washed and cut in half lengthwise. Skin on. (Or use 1 large eggplant)

1 Medium size onion chopped

2 Stalks celery (Use the tender inner stalks) chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1 Red bell pepper de seeded and chopped

4 Fresh tomato’s chopped (I used 1 very large heirloom tomato and 1 smaller heirloom)

1/4 cup capers rinsed, rough chop

1/4 cup Olives Kalamata or green (I use a little of each) Rough chop the olives

2 tsp – 1 tbs organic brown Sugar (add 2 tsp taste and add more if needed)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 450, clean the eggplant cut the tops off and cut in half lengthwise. On baking sheet lined with parchment brush a little olive oil on each half, both sides, place your eggplant cut side down and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
In fry pan on med/high flame coated with olive oil add your chopped onion, cook until translucent. Add chopped celery and red bell pepper, continue cooking until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Add your minced garlic, cook for a minute or so don’t let garlic brown. Add your eggplant,tomato,capers, olives,crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar continue cooking until mixture is thick. Eggplant will break down but thats ok this will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight. It tastes incredible when it has rested and all the flavors have blended together.

Caponata, bread and cheese

Caponata, bread and cheese

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

97 Comments Post a comment
  1. I always wondered about Caponata! Now I have a family recipe in front of me. Would it be okay to go lower on the sugar part. I love the flavors going on there in the dish.

    September 7, 2014
    • I only used 1 tsp of sugar, my tomatoes were sweet. I remember the caponata I had as a child and I liked it in theory but it was way too sweet for me. It’s kind of like an Italian ratatouille. Thanks Sonali.

      September 7, 2014
  2. Sue #

    That’s right, with a big hunk of cheese, amen!

    September 7, 2014
    • Yes to cheese and warm bread and a glass of wine. It’s a meal for me. Thanks Sue.

      September 7, 2014
      • Sue #

        Sure Suzanne!

        September 7, 2014
  3. This looks absolutely incredible! This with some bread and cheese on the side sounds like the perfect way to start the weekend! My friend’s mom made us tapas once, and they were amazing. We didn’t actually have any bread though, and now that you’ve mentioned it, I’m sure we’re missing out! x

    September 7, 2014
  4. I don’t know where my sense of culinary adventure came from… this is so far away from anything i would have seen as a child or young adult. But it sounds wonderful — especially with the bread, cheese, and wine. Lovely choice, Suzanne. Great-big-hug!

    September 7, 2014
    • Thanks so much Teagan. Growing up in an Italian household was great but there were foods I never tasted also. I love foods from everywhere, it’s great to get to know a culture through their food.

      September 7, 2014
  5. Looks great! πŸ™‚

    September 7, 2014
  6. Looks great Suzanne, such a delicious appetizer reminds me of ratatouille, I love eggplant!

    September 7, 2014
    • It is the Italian version of ratatouille. Thanks so much Viviana!

      September 7, 2014
  7. Hi Suzanne, another great dish, love these flavors together, great presentation.

    September 7, 2014
  8. Yummy! Could zucchini sub for eggplant or is it too mushy?

    September 7, 2014
    • Yes you could just add the zucchini at the very end so it doesn’t get mushed. Thanks Linda.

      September 7, 2014
  9. I love a good dip! This caponata looks very flavorful πŸ™‚

    September 7, 2014
  10. I am just about to go out and pick some fresh eggplants. This is the perfect use for them. Thanks so much for posting.

    September 7, 2014
    • Lucky you with a garden with eggplant, I love it. Thanks so much Hilda and thank you for co hosting this week.

      September 7, 2014
      • My pleasure. And yes, I am lucky, but am crossing my fingers that the frost won’t come too soon. I still have a pile of small ones that need more time.

        September 7, 2014
  11. This looks so tasty – I’d never heard of Italian ‘tapas’ until recently (I thought it was particular to Spain) when I went to an Italian ‘tapas’ restaurant in London. Oh my – it was just wonderful – so many tempting things on the menu – I think we tried just about everything. In my opinion it’s better than Spanish tapas.

    September 7, 2014
    • I will have to agree with you, not just because I am Italian either. Thanks, this was always on the menu for an Italian tapas in our family. Thank you.

      September 7, 2014
  12. Wow tapas and Italian version, was looking for this kind and just perfect with spices and teaming…will definitely try this sometime. ..Great recipe Suzanne. .. :)πŸ‘

    September 7, 2014
    • Thanks Chitra, it’s a wonderful vegetable dish, thanks so much.

      September 7, 2014
  13. Weirdly, I’ve never thought of caponata as tapas, but it makes total sense. I’ve always served it as a vegetable side dish – particularly good with game eg. pheasant breast (see below)
    http://www.thefoodieat.org/cooking-pheasants-with-the-jamie-oliver-team/

    September 7, 2014
    • It is fabulous with game, it was always served as tapas or an appetizer in my home, thats the way I grew up eating it. I think it’s so similar to ratatouille and is perfect as a side. Thank you so much.

      September 7, 2014
  14. I Love it, I also like to put this on bread with cheese and drizzle with olive oil! All you need is a couple glasses of wine and dessert! πŸ™‚

    September 7, 2014
    • Absolutely, thats the best way to eat it. I thought it looked especially good on that cutting board, wink!!

      September 7, 2014
  15. CAPONATA ! – so divine that I will forgive your post heading, Suzanne. [grin]
    There are possibly five million ricette for caponata, and I’m willing to try anyone’s – but for the acchiuge that most of the Sicilians use. And as yours doesn’t have any, you’ve made it to the top of my list ! GOODONYER and thanks ! πŸ™‚

    September 7, 2014
    • LOL, thank you the title is a bit off I know. I love this recipe, no anchovies here thank you. I hope you enjoy the recipe. I also make it less sweet than most caponata.

      September 8, 2014
      • So much to the good, m’dear ! πŸ™‚

        September 8, 2014
  16. This looks so tasty, Suzanne!! Yum!

    September 7, 2014
  17. I love caponata Suzanne – thankful for the reminder of it. Lovely looking recipe.

    September 7, 2014
    • I do too, It is very versatile, a condiment, a side an appetizer. Thanks so much.

      September 8, 2014
  18. I love caponata! And I’ve got eggplants, fresh from the garden, finally! Caponata will be made soon. My mouth is already watering thinking about it. So good! πŸ™‚

    September 7, 2014
    • Oh lucky with fresh eggplant. One day I will have a vegetable garden. Thanks Angie.

      September 8, 2014
  19. Never heard about this but looks tasty Suzanne. Will try soon thanks for the recipe

    September 7, 2014
    • It’s quite popular in Italy or Sicily. Thanks so much, with all the fresh vegetables it’s a great dish to make right now.

      September 8, 2014
  20. Liz #

    mmmmmm….am now in the mood for caponata. Every ingredient is first rate and when combined they’re even more amazing. Great recipe and photos!

    September 8, 2014
    • Thank you so much. it’s really good and keeps so well. I refrigerator preserve it in sterilized jars, lasts for months,

      September 8, 2014
      • Liz #

        I made this tonight! AND your Italian long beans πŸ™‚ Had to use up all of the farmers’ market bounty. Thanks for sharing your recipes, Suzanne.

        September 8, 2014
      • How wonderful, thank you for letting me know. Did you like it? I hope so. Thanks Liz.

        September 8, 2014
  21. It looks really tasty Suzanne πŸ™‚ Can I add grapes vinegar or water instead of wine vinegar?

    September 8, 2014
    • Absolutely, you do not have to add wine vinegar. I have even used balsamic. Thank you so much.

      September 8, 2014
  22. Oh man, cheese and warm bread with this? Your readers are right. This will be amazing!

    September 8, 2014
  23. I have made caponata a few times but have never got it quite right (too bland too mushy) this post is tempting me to try again and in particular to let it rest overnight. I really like the idea of serving it with bread and cheese.

    September 8, 2014
    • This recipe always turns out great. I don’t like it too mushy or bland and this one is good. Thanks so much.

      September 8, 2014
  24. I do love me some tapas, even if it’s not technically tapas, any tapas is good! This sounds yummy, I love Italian family recipes!

    September 8, 2014
  25. What a delicious looking dip!

    September 8, 2014
  26. What a lovely dish to serve as an appetiser Suzanne! So perfect with some bread, cheese and wine to go with it.

    September 8, 2014
    • Totally agree, it’s a great appetizer or even meal. Thats all you need. Thanks Margot.

      September 9, 2014
  27. Italian tapas – such a cool idea! This reminds me of the antipasti I’ve been eating at weddings for years

    September 8, 2014
    • My Mom made it for holidays and special occasions, not sure why because it’s not an elegant food but its delicious. Thanks so much.

      September 9, 2014
  28. Hi Suzanne! Love the idea of setting this out as antipasti– but it would be good lots of ways– on pasta, in omelets… really great recipe!

    September 8, 2014
  29. All I need is this dish in front of me and a big slice of bread. All the rest just leave them to me haha! Delicious!

    September 9, 2014
  30. Your recipe sounds really good except for the olives – I am just not an olive fan. Would they be missed too much? πŸ™‚

    September 9, 2014
    • Yes you can omit the olives. It will still be delicious. Thank you so much.

      September 9, 2014
  31. This looks delicious, Suzanne…and so perfect for all the bits of this-and-that left in my garden! Thanks for sharing the recipe. πŸ™‚

    September 9, 2014
    • It is, that one eggplant and errant tomatoes. Thanks Nancy. Sorry to see summer produce on the way out but look forward to Fall harvest!

      September 9, 2014
  32. Will have to try your method of roasting aubergine, as I get so fed up with it taking so long to pan-fry. And I haven’t made caponata in ages. With a small jar of delicious capers bought recently it should be the perfect recipe for this weekend!

    September 9, 2014
    • It works wonderfully, I too get fed up with using the skillet. They soak up oil, when you roast in the oven it’s easy and uses far less oil. I really just brush them with olive oil and then drizzle a little on them before putting in the oven. I also had a container of capers just bought, love them, Thanks Johnny!

      September 9, 2014
  33. When someone asks me which Region deserves to be visited in Italy I always reply Tuscany (of course, how could I turn my on my beloved region???) and Sicily. I had the chance to be there several times, I love it, I love everything over there. The food is outstanding and caponata is one of the best dishes you can have. Let me tell you that yours looks amazing, I hope you had a lot of bread!

    September 9, 2014
    • Thank you so much, Sicily is under appreciated, it’s so beautiful and food is outstanding. Thank you so much,

      September 10, 2014
  34. wow! it looks insanely good! I’d die to taste it!

    September 10, 2014
  35. Suzanne, somehow I missed this post! This looks amazingly, delicious and sooo healthy. I just love every ingredient and all these veggies. Eggplant is probably my hubby’s favorite veggie! I bet all this goodness would go amazing on my gluten-free pizza crust…I need to try that!

    September 10, 2014
    • Thank you Brandi I love the combination of vegetables with the briny olives and capers and a splash of vinegar. It’s really good and YES this would be amazing on your GF pizza crust, I should try it.

      September 11, 2014
  36. I adore tapas, whether they be Italian or Spanish or Aussie or whatever (I do think the word ‘tapas’ is used loosely these days, but as long as it’s a small plate of sorts I guess it’s appropriate!). This stunning caponata looks so flavourful and delicious… I can imagine how wonderful it would be when smeared over garlicky toasted bread! Yum. Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe with us xx

    P.S apologies for being ‘lost’ whilst I am away on my travels, I’ve been neglecting the blog and my wonderful blogging friends sorrowfully!

    September 11, 2014
    • Laura, its impossible and not expected that you or anyone would keep up with blogs whilst traveling. No need for apologies. I have so enjoyed seeing your photo’s and the journal of your trip.
      Thank you, the caponata is really delicious. I don’t think my title really fits but I decided to try it anyway. It is a small plate and there is no word in Italian that I am aware of so I will borrow from Spain.

      September 11, 2014
  37. ah what can i say! yum to eggplant.

    September 11, 2014
  38. What a perfect late summer dish! Is your family from Sicily? A close friend of mine’s husband is from there (his parents emigrated here at some point) and they’re going there for a vacation for the first time in a couple of weeks. I should make this for them as a going away treat πŸ™‚

    September 11, 2014
    • I have relatives from Sicily but my family was from Caserta. My great great uncle has family there. It is a wonderful treat, thanks Susan.

      September 11, 2014
  39. This sounds like a great little light dinner with bread, cheese, and wine!! I want it! I will be in Sicily soon πŸ™‚

    September 13, 2014
    • It’s wonderful either as an appetizer or a light meal. Would love to know what beer you would pair with this, or would you?

      September 13, 2014
      • Hmm, id have to taste it since I’m not so sure about that sweetness- that could allow for different beers. I would like red wine with it but there are definitely some Belgian beers that would also pair nicely. Depending on all the flavors and how strong they are maybe a quadruple could go with it. Best way to find out is taste testing! πŸ™‚

        September 13, 2014
      • Its not sweet at all, I barely use any sugar in it. Red wine is always what I have just would be interested in beer, I love drinking beer with appetizer type food.

        September 13, 2014
  40. Looks so good Suzanne! I love anything with eggplant!

    September 13, 2014
  41. petra08 #

    I love caponata and I always eat it when in Italy but have never thought of making it myself! Yours looks delicious and I can imagine with some delicious Italian bread, some cheese and a cool glass of wine, yum! πŸ™‚

    September 14, 2014
    • Thank you, I grew up having it frequently and it’s one of my favorites.

      September 14, 2014
  42. This looks super good. I just had a kind of “meh” soup for dinner. I should have made this!

    September 14, 2014
  43. How did I miss this recipe? I shall Pin it on my tapas party idea board. I might actually throw a tapas party. Hey, it could happen. πŸ˜‰

    September 28, 2014
    • It’s wonderful, caponata is great, I love it in an omelette or frittata also. Thank you so much.

      September 29, 2014

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