I’m embarrassed to tell you that I had about half a dozen eggplants sitting in my fridge for over a month. Every week I’d get one or two more from my local CSA and each week I’d add them to the others not sure of what to make. I honestly can’t believe they hung in as long as they did. I don’t exaggerate when I tell you they’ve been in my fridge since the end of August. It finally became too much to bare. Every time I would open my fridge they were taunting me.
Don’t you dare throw me out.
Maybe you could fry us and slather us in marinara.
We’re still here.
What ARE you going to do with us?
After weeks of vegetable ridicule, I could take it no longer. And neither could my poor eggplants. They were literally on their last legs. I yanked them from the crisper determined to make good use of them. As much as I love fried eggplant parmesan, my ass was begging me to use them otherwise. After browsing the internet and through my what seems like endless library of cookbooks, I settled on Eggplant Caponota. A rustic dish of stewed vegetables, it’s so simple to make and it’s one of those forgiving recipes that any adaptation works beautifully.
While all recipes consistently call for eggplant, onion, vinegar and tomatoes, the rest of the ingredients are pretty versatile. You can serve make your caponata a little more refined, chopping the ingredients smaller, to serve on crostini. Or if you want a more rustic feel, a coarser chop is great for serving as a vegetarian main dish or with some grilled fish. My version is somewhere in the middle of the two. I ate it happily with some toasted pitas but it made a great vegetarian lunch when I heated it up and had it over some steamed spaghetti squash for lunch. Doesn’t matter how you choose to serve it, this stuff is dang tasty. It’s a great make ahead dish because the flavors are even better after sitting for a day.
In addition to all the meaty vegetables, I added garlic (you can never go wrong with garlic), capers, olives, some honey and just a touch of orange zest. The dish was satisfying, meaty yet healthy and the perfect way to showcase my eggplant collection. My mouth and my ass are better off because of this dish. And that’s the truth.
Other Eggplant recipes you might enjoy:
Classic Baba Ghanoush, The Shiksa in the Kitchen
Eggplant Caviar, David Lebovitz
Sauteed Eggplant and Tomato Pasta, Quick and Dirty in the Kitchen
Sriracha Stir-fried Tofu with Eggplant, Red Bell Pepper and Thai Basil, Kalyn’s Kitchen
This vegetarian Italian relish is both sweet and savory. It's perfect served on it's own with some simple toasted crostini or as a topping for broiled fish or chicken.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery (including leaves), diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 orange (or any color) bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup drained capers
- 3/4 cup diced green olives (pitted)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
- In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add eggplant, onion and celery. Saute over medium-low heat until eggplant is soft and starting to break, about 15 minutes. Add garlic, bell pepper and salt and pepper. Saute for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the capers, olives, vinegar and honey. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes and orange zest. Turn heat to medium high and bring mixture to a simmer. Stirring often, simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, taste, and add salt and pepper if necessary.
- Let cool completely and refrigerate over night. Bring to room temperature before serving and stir in pine nuts. Garnish with chopped celery leaves.
This is definitely better when made a day ahead so plan accordingly. It's best served either slightly warm or room temperature.