Next time I make eggplant caponata, I will do so in large quantities.
When my plans for eggplant parm fell through, I turned to caponata for that big ol’ eggplant that was starting to tire after several days in the fridge. I absolutely love making food like this that can keep and be served in a myriad of ways, particular in warmer weather: at room temperature for a snack over toasted bread or crackers; tossed with pasta and your favorite fresh goat cheese or mozzarella; spooned over polenta (with a fried egg on top); atop some grilled chicken or fish. I also take particular delight in using up the contents of my fridge, like those few dinky capers and garlicky lemon olives from Whole Foods (you know the ones they always have away from the other olives on display). I’m typically on foot for food shopping during the week and hate to run out for just one minor ingredient.
I’ve also developed this crazy problem that with an antipasti or cheese plate, I always try to serve one thing that is homemade, usually a chutney or jam. Make caponata days in advance, and serve at room temperature with a few Italian hard cheeses like Caprotto or Pecorino. The flavors only get better with time.
Be sure to evenly dice everything (minus the garlic and herbs). Best made in advance so flavors can incorporate.
1 large eggplant, small dice
1 onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 roasted red peppers (I used high quality ones from a jar), small dice
1 tbsp. capers
2 generous tbsp. chopped basil
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 c. pitted olives, small dice
Coat the bottom of a hot, large non-stick skillet with olive oil. Add onion, and sweat until translucent. Add eggplant, salt, and pepper, and cook until eggplant is golden and soft. Add garlic, peppers, capers, and olives and let combine over low heat for a few minutes. Adjust seasoning. Add herbs off the heat and let sit for a while before serving.