Caponata, a southern Italian stew consisting primarily of eggplant and bell peppers, makes a wonderful kosher parve appetizer. Serve this versatile vegetable concoction at room temperature with toasted bread or crackers, on a bed of lettuce, or in a scooped out tomato.

Given caponata is basically a mixture of simmered vegetables, there is lots of room to customize the dish according to your personal taste. I like to add zucchini to my caponata, but you can also add mushrooms, olives, capers, and even toasted pine nuts.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped into cubes
  • 1 large zucchini, cubed
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • oregano, sugar, salt and freshly ground pepper according to taste
  • fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Direction:

  • Heat oil in a large pot. Saute eggplant, onion, pepper, zucchini and garlic for 5-7 minutes, or until the onion has softened.
  • Mix in remaining ingredients. Cover pot.
  • Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes, or until eggplant is tender but not too soft.
  • Chill overnight.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve at room temperature with toasted bread or crackers, on a bed of lettuce, or in a scooped out tomato. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Tagged: Stuart