Caponata

This is good to have on hand as a starter course for barbecue meals or as a side salad. Just before serving, add some freshly chopped Italian parsley and a few black or mixed oil-cured olives. Season with pepper and if desired, salt to taste.

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cups: 5

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Ingredients

  • 1 Ontario Eggplant (about 1 lb/500 g)
  • Salt
  • 4 tsp (20 mL) Demerara sugar
  • 6 tbsp (75 mL) olive oil
  • 5 medium-size firm, red-ripe Ontario Tomatoes
  • 1 large Ontario Sheppard or Sweet Red Pepper
  • 1 Ontario Sweet Green Pepper
  • 1 Ontario Cubanelle Pepper
  • 1 large Ontario Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves Ontario Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) coarsely sliced Ontario Fennel or Celery
  • 6 tbsp (75 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 or 5 sprigs fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) drained capers

Preparation

Without peeling, cut eggplant into 1-in. (2.5 cm) thick slices; layer in large bowl, sprinkling each layer with salt. Cover with cold water. Weigh down with small inverted plate; let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant; cut into cubes and press out excess liquid. In bowl, toss eggplant with sugar and half the olive oil; set aside.

Peel and halve tomatoes, gently press out seeds, cut into chunks and set aside. Seed and remove ribs from red, green and cubanelle peppers; cut into 1-in. (2.5 cm) squares.

In large, shallow, microwaveable dish, combine peppers, onion, garlic and fennel; add remaining oil and toss well. Microwave, uncovered at High for 6 minutes or until onions are translucent. Transfer to large bowl; set aside. Spread eggplant in the shallow dish; microwave, uncovered, at High for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender-firm, stirring halfway through. Add to pepper mixture.

Place tomatoes in the shallow dish; toss with 3 tbsp (50 mL) balsamic vinegar and the thyme. Tuck basil among tomatoes; microwave, uncovered, at High for 5 minutes or just until cooked through, rotating dish once. Discard basil. Add to eggplant mixture along with remaining vinegar, capers and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt. Let cool, toss gently. Refrigerate in sterilized, tightly covered container for at least 24 hours or for up to 2 weeks.

Note: Microwave recipes tested in a 700-watt microwave oven. Power level terminology in microwave ovens varies; check your owner's manual and use whichever word or number gives you the same percentages as in the recipe (High is always 100%). If your oven differs, cooking times may vary.

Nutrients per serving

1/2 cup/125 mL:

  • Protein: 1.5 grams
  • Fat: 7.0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 10.5 grams
  • Calories: 111