Caponata with a Greek Twist
A trip to southern Italy inspired this “Greek” version of Caponata, the classic Sicilian summer eggplant stew. In my Ikaria cooking classes, we make all sorts of Mediterranean eggplant recipes and at least one combines eggplant with raisins or Corinthian currants, but it’s for a stuffed eggplant dish and it’s always a cooking class favorite. Throughout the Mediterranean, all sorts of recipes for eggplant abound. Whether in the Greek diet, Italian cooking, or in other Mediterranean traditions, Mediterranean recipes overall combine this classic summer vegetable with almost every imaginable herb, spice, and more. There are countless plant-based Greek recipes for eggplant. The marriage of eggplant and raisins is delicious, too, if unusual! Extra virgin olive oil, other fresh summer vegetables, Santorini capers and caper leaves, and one of my favorite Greek ingredients, petimezi, give this caponata a Greek twist!
PREP TIME 20 minutes
COOK TIME 40 minutes
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet and add the onion, celery and pepper. Cook, stirring until the onion turns golden, the pepper is soft, and the celery is lightly caramelized for about 12 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic. Cook together for a minute until the garlic softens.
Add the tomatoes, olives, and currants or raisins. Season lightly with salt and gently stir in half the petimezi. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes, until the mixture is thick.
Heat half the remaining olive oil over medium high heat and add about half the eggplant, stirring gently until lightly browned and about half-way cooked. Remove and set aside. Repeat with remaining eggplant. Transfer the half-cooked eggplant to the caponata mixture and toss to combine. Drizzle in remaining petimezi and the balsamic and stir. Stir in the capers, julienned caper leaves and toasted pine nuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook everything together for about 6 to 7 minutes to give the ingredients and flavors a chance to meld. Remove from heat and let cool. Serve in a bowl as a topping for bruschetta, as an appetizer, or as a topping for pasta. It’s delicious at room temperature and even better the next day!