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.
- 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)
- 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.