Italian Tapas For Fiesta Friday #32
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. 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!
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.
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.
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.
That’s right, with a big hunk of cheese, amen!
Yes to cheese and warm bread and a glass of wine. It’s a meal for me. Thanks Sue.
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
Thanks so much. It’s a wonderful small meal!
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!
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.
Looks great! 🙂
Thank you so much.
Looks great Suzanne, such a delicious appetizer reminds me of ratatouille, I love eggplant!
It is the Italian version of ratatouille. Thanks so much Viviana!
Hi Suzanne, another great dish, love these flavors together, great presentation.
Thanks so much Cheri.
Yummy! Could zucchini sub for eggplant or is it too mushy?
Yes you could just add the zucchini at the very end so it doesn’t get mushed. Thanks Linda.
I love a good dip! This caponata looks very flavorful 🙂
Thank you so much, me too!
I am just about to go out and pick some fresh eggplants. This is the perfect use for them. Thanks so much for posting.
Lucky you with a garden with eggplant, I love it. Thanks so much Hilda and thank you for co hosting this week.
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.
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.
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.
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. .. :)👍
Thanks Chitra, it’s a wonderful vegetable dish, thanks so much.
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)
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.
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! 🙂
Absolutely, thats the best way to eat it. I thought it looked especially good on that cutting board, wink!!
I saw that! Have you been using it?
Yes I certainly have and love it
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 ! 🙂
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.
So much to the good, m’dear ! 🙂
This looks so tasty, Suzanne!! Yum!
Thanks Patty! Kiss Bailey for us!
Kisses right back!!
I love caponata Suzanne – thankful for the reminder of it. Lovely looking recipe.
I do too, It is very versatile, a condiment, a side an appetizer. Thanks so much.
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! 🙂
Oh lucky with fresh eggplant. One day I will have a vegetable garden. Thanks Angie.
Never heard about this but looks tasty Suzanne. Will try soon thanks for the recipe
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.
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!
Thank you so much. it’s really good and keeps so well. I refrigerator preserve it in sterilized jars, lasts for months,
I made this tonight! AND your Italian long beans 🙂 Had to use up all of the farmers’ market bounty. Thanks for sharing your recipes, Suzanne.
How wonderful, thank you for letting me know. Did you like it? I hope so. Thanks Liz.
It looks really tasty Suzanne 🙂 Can I add grapes vinegar or water instead of wine vinegar?
Absolutely, you do not have to add wine vinegar. I have even used balsamic. Thank you so much.
Oh man, cheese and warm bread with this? Your readers are right. This will be amazing!
Thank you Cindy!
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.
This recipe always turns out great. I don’t like it too mushy or bland and this one is good. Thanks so much.
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!
Me too Michelle, thank you.
What a delicious looking dip!
Thank you so much.
What a lovely dish to serve as an appetiser Suzanne! So perfect with some bread, cheese and wine to go with it.
Totally agree, it’s a great appetizer or even meal. Thats all you need. Thanks Margot.
Italian tapas – such a cool idea! This reminds me of the antipasti I’ve been eating at weddings for years
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.
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!
Thanks so much Rhonda! I agree.
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!
Yes me too, I could have as an entire meal. Thanks Katarina!
Your recipe sounds really good except for the olives – I am just not an olive fan. Would they be missed too much? 🙂
Yes you can omit the olives. It will still be delicious. Thank you so much.
This looks delicious, Suzanne…and so perfect for all the bits of this-and-that left in my garden! Thanks for sharing the recipe. 🙂
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!
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!
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!
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!
Thank you so much, Sicily is under appreciated, it’s so beautiful and food is outstanding. Thank you so much,
wow! it looks insanely good! I’d die to taste it!
Thank you so much.
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!
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.
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!
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.
ah what can i say! yum to eggplant.
Yes I second that! Thank you.
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 🙂
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.
This sounds like a great little light dinner with bread, cheese, and wine!! I want it! I will be in Sicily soon 🙂
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?
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! 🙂
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.
Looks so good Suzanne! I love anything with eggplant!
Thank you so much! Me too!!
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! 🙂
Thank you, I grew up having it frequently and it’s one of my favorites.
This looks super good. I just had a kind of “meh” soup for dinner. I should have made this!
Thank you so much.
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. 😉
It’s wonderful, caponata is great, I love it in an omelette or frittata also. Thank you so much.