Though caponata is a Sicilian eggplant appetizer, a dip to serve with crackers, I automatically think of hurricane season when I think of it. Why? My family has always canned it, making it an easy snack when power is out during a hurricane! I guess another reason is that summer is when eggplant are plentiful, making this the best time to cook this fabulous concoction.
Though we can and process this dip into jars, you certainly do not have to. It does make a lot, much more than you would typically use for a regular party so I’d suggest either canning some, or being the best neighbor ever with some little summertime “thinking of you, neighbor” gifts! Bonus perk – this is a microwave recipe (except for the processing of jars if canning).
Makes 2 Quarts
Recipe slightly modified from Tout de Suite a la Microwave
3 cups onion, chopped
1.5 cups green bell pepper, chopped
1.5 cups celery, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggplants, peeled and cut into cubes (I like them on the smaller size, .5″) – soak in salt water 20 minutes then drain
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (6 oz) can pitted black olives, sliced
1/2 cup pitted green olives, sliced or halved
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1.5 tsp. oregano
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. pepper
In a 4 quart microwave-safe bowl or casserole, mix together onion, bell pepper, and celery with olive oil. Cover with wax paper and cook on HIGH 30 minutes. Stir halfway through.
Stir in eggplant, cover and cook on HIGH 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste, mix well, and cook on HIGH 10 minutes.
Stir in garlic, olives, vinegar, sugar, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook on HIGH 5 minutes. Serve chilled.
Note: if canning, start with hot caponata. Boil glass jars in large canning pot, with the lids in a small pot of water on simmer. One at a time, remove a jar from the water, drain, set on counter with the canning funnel in the opening. Fill till about halfway up into the opening of the jar, tap or use a butter knife to ensure no air pockets. Carefully remove funnel, be CERTAIN that the top is CLEAN, then carefully apply one of the lids that was in the simmering water. Close with the jar’s ring until just tight, but not super tight. Once all jars are filled, place back in boiling water in canning pot, be sure that water is covering all jars, Boil for 15 minutes. Remove jars and set on a cutting board or towel and allow them to cool off. You’ll hear a “pop” noise as they set, showing that they have processed correctly. Store in the pantry until ready to serve.