Saturday, February 28, 2009

Quick Eggplant Caponata Appetizer Dip

Eggplant Caponata
A great crush of rich hues, earthy flavors, and
surprisingly little oil. I wish I made a double batch.

Quick Eggplant Caponata - My own recipe


4 cups diced, unpeeled eggplant (about 3 small eggplants)
3 tablespoons salt for draining eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 stalk celery heart, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons fruit-infused balsamic vinegar (I used fig)
3 tablespoons capers, drained but not rinsed
1/4 cup black, green or assorted oil-cured olives, pitted, then sliced or chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, tossed and toasted in a cast-iron skillet for 10 minutes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh parsley or basil leaves to garnish (optional)


In a large bowl, toss eggplant with salt and set aside to leach bitterness and moisture for 1/2 an hour. Meantime, over medium-low heat, gently warm olive oil in a large skillet for about 20 seconds. Add celery, onion and garlic, stirring to combine. Cook until vegetables are soft and translucent, and garlic is golden without burning, stirring occasionally. Rinse eggplant under running water to remove salt; drain, then pat dry. Add to skillet, stir to combine with other vegetables and leave to simmer at least 15 minutes or until eggplant dice has reduced in size. Stir occasionally, but you can allow eggplant to stick and char a little for added flavor. Add tomato paste and water, stir to combine and gently simmer for about another 10 minutes, again, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar, capers and olives, covering the skillet and lowering the heat to the lowest setting. Let it simmer and steam for about 5 minutes. Remove cover, test for seasoning, adding caper juice and/or vinegar in small amounts if you prefer more salt or tang. Add pine nuts, sprinkle with black pepper, then spoon into a small bowl and top with optional herb garnish. Serve with crostini, pita chips or small slices of toasted Italian bread. Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of concentrated dip. Serves 3-4 as a light starter. --

Eggplant Caponata & Pita Chips

This zero-hour post is for Vaishali of Holy Cow! Recipes from a Vegan Kitchen, hosting It's a Vegan World - Italian, and for Rachana of The Gourmet Launchpad, hosting A Healthy Bite.


  1. this must be yummy. i like caponata

  2. Can't wait to see the photos for my visual drool:D

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. That sounds delicious! I must try it. I haven't had aubergines for ages.

  5. Dear Susan, I love this recipe-- eggplant's my favorite veggie, and all these flavors you've added to it must make this dish truly special. Thanks so much for sending it in to IAVW Italian.

  6. I love eggplant caponata. Or anything to do with eggplant :D

  7. I love eggplant caponata!

    Thanks for posting a dip version, next time I entertain this will certainly be on the menu

  8. Susan

    Sent you my entry for MLLA 8. Check your mail please

    This is something I have never had, looks very nice

  9. Definitely well worth the wait for yet another amazing photo of yours!This looks groovy! I adore eggplant but this seems to have that added crunch to it! Love it!

  10. this must defenitely be yummy!! love eggplants in any way!!

  11. Love love love caponata -- it's great with scrambled eggs, as a garnish for grilled tuna, or with brie in a panini.

  12. It sounds wonderful, especially like the pine nuts.
    Great colors and textures too.

  13. That looks delicious. I love your pictures. They do a great job of conveying ambiance.

  14. Looks very nice and tempting.

  15. Visiting your site is always good for the drool factor. ;-) I love eggplants. This version of a caponata rocks! And, as always, your photos make me want to be a better food photographer.

  16. Really rich and inviting version, I like it :)

  17. Such beautiful pictures! Your blog has the "wow" factor with the yum recipes and fabulous pictures. And thanks for the MLLA event, which I will be participating in this month!

  18. And it includes olives too. When I try this, I will double the recipe. Fabulous!

  19. oh i'm loving this. i think it'll be great with a whole bag of BBQ doritos all to myself :) x

  20. I find eggplant caponata simply irresistible. The same can be said of your photos!

  21. You really have a gift for making difficult to photograph foods look amazingly delicious.

    Looking forward to trying this recipe!

    Casual Kitchen

  22. Don't think I've ever come across this earlier! It looks interesting. We ate out yesterday and had some black olives that were a pleasant change from the pungent, preserved ones.

  23. Oh this lloks wonderful. My type of appetizer.

  24. Dear All - Please forgive the extreme tardiness in responding to your comments:

    Snooky - Thanks.

    Val - ; }

    Thanks, Holler. This is definitely an ideal starter for vegetarians.

    Vaishali - Thank you. Very happy to have participated in IAVW.

    A & N - And my husband simply cannot stand it. He doesn't know what he is missing. : }

    Hi, Maris! Make plenty; it'll go fast.

    Sandeepa - Thanks. By now, of course, I have received your MLLA8 recipe. ; P

    Hi, Mia! Thank you. This recipe has great texture, but since most of the ingredients were cooked they aren't as crunchy as you would think. Even so, it got a lot going for it.

    Superchef - Thanks! Me, too.

    Lydia - What a good idea. Think I'd like to try it in a brie panini next.

    Lori Lynn - Thanks very much.

    Hi, Kelly! Good to see you. Thanks so much.

    Welcome, Rajee! Thank you for your kind words.

    Hey, Toni! Hope you are well. Thanks for the kudos.

    Welcome, Elisabetta! Thank you! It is remarkably rich even though I used very little oil.

    Welcome, Vani! That is very kind of you. Thank you very much. Good to see you.

    Lisa - Olives...I know how you feel. Thanks!

    Diva - Welcome! Thanks very much. Corn chips would be scrummy with this! Great idea!

    Hi, Susan! Thanks! Good to see you.

    Welcome, Daniel! That's very sweet of you. Thank you. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

    Sra - Well, maybe you will try it out someday soon. It certainly is a snappy savory flavor, very complex.

    Thanks, Courtney!

    Hi, Maggie! Thanks so much!

    Thanks, Kevin. Good to see you!