WHAT IS A CAPONATA?
And is it a side dish or a main course? Today eggplant caponata is often considered a side dish. But in the past it was the whole center-of-the-plate enchilada–like French ratatouille, a hearty vegetable stew. In fact they’re very similar with the difference lying mostly in the spice profile. Meaty eggplant, rich tomatoes, spices and garlic is what makes caponata it a good, hearty vegan dish that is both sweet and sour in flavor–from sugar and vinegar.
SUGGESTIONS WHEN MAKING A CAPONATA
- Stay Small for Sweeter Eggplants!
We like to make this dish using smaller Sicilian Graffiti eggplants (they’ve got purple and white stripes) or even Indian eggplants which are both sweeter than large Italian varieties.
- Roast Before Frying
Roasting the eggplant before frying with other ingredients depends flavor and removes bitterness but if you don’t want to take the extra step, you an fry your eggplant with the other vegetables too. If you take this route, a good tip is to salt your eggplant slices before cooking to leech out the bitter juices. Roast in our light extra virgin olive oil.
- Be Careful on Your Vinegar Choice
Another tip is to use a vinegar that isn’t too sharp around the edges! Otherwise it will bring out any inherent bitterness in the eggplant. Our dark Balsamic vinegar works well here.
WHAT PAIRS WELL WITH A CAPONATA?
Eggplant is a pretty friendly wine when it comes to wine pairings. Lynne Bennet has a good article on this here. However red wines in general with some body are a safe bet, in particular Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot. (written by Chef Stef)